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Grading Obama's beer summit
What bringing together Henry Louis Gates Jr. and police Sgt. James Crowley accomplished
H

enry Louis Gates Jr. and James Crowley "did not link arms," said Joseph Williams in The Boston Globe, "and there were no public apologies." But their chat at a White House beer summit "appeared to achieve President Obama’s goal of encouraging a deeper dialogue on race" between Gates, a prominent African-American Harvard professor, and Crowley, a Cambridge, Mass., police sergeant who arrested him after a report of a possible break-in at Gates' home (watch a CNN report on Obama's beer summit).

"For all the needless hype that was given this thing," said Doug Mataconis in Below the Beltway, "it’s pretty clear that nothing was accomplished" at Obama's beer summit. Crowley held a news conference after the chat and said that he and Gates were "two gentlemen who agreed to disagree" about the arrest, and Gates' statement was "similarly ambiguous." Let's hope that's the end of this whole affair—and the end of the "ridiculous pageantry" of Obama's beer summits, too.

Barack Obama's beer diplomacy worked—at least for him, said David Swerdlick in the New York Daily News. "Obama put those beers on his tab so he could get right with voters after saying that the police acted 'stupidly'" by arresting Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his own home. "And it did the job." At least Gates and Sgt. Crowley say they'll keep talking to each other.

One thing we learned from Obama's beer summit, said Peter Baker in The New York Times, is that "President Obama has yet to always find sure footing when it comes to race." The Gates controversy "shows that he has the capacity to inflame, intentionally or not, partly just by virtue of who he is, and that he has an instinct to try to mediate, as with this beer at the picnic table, something I can’t picture any previous president doing. How he will reconcile these in the future is something to watch."

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