Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press offers an “analysis” of the potential fall out from the Obama-Gates debacle. After giving background on President’s “summit” following the incident, she writes: “Obama’s impromptu comments about the incident could become a defining moment.”
Were his comments really “impromptu”? During an interview on Fox News last Sunday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted that he had discussed this topic with the President as they prepared for the press conference. As Politico reports:
Asked by Baier whether Obama had been prepared for the original question about Gates’ arrest, in which he said the Cambridge, Mass., Police Department had acted “stupidly,” Gibbs replied, ‘Let’s just say it’s safe to say we went over a whole lot of topics we thought might come up, and certainly this was a topic that has been in the news.’
Perhaps for this President, any statement that he makes that isn’t read directly from a teleprompter is considered “impromptu.” Yet it is actually an important distinction that the President wasn’t just blind-sided by this question. It wasn’t that he was struggling to respond and happened to say that the police “acted stupidly.” He had thought about the case before hand, and his statement reflected his considered opinion and presumption that the police deserved the blame for the incident.
Loven should take care in her “analysis” of an event’s political impact not to rewrite history about the event itself.