During a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, President Obama that Americans should respect the George Zimmerman verdict, but white Americans should also understand the problems of racism.
“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” said President Obama.
He added all Americans should do “soul-searching” in the wake of the verdict and the reactions to it.
Mike Allen: “Plans for the President’s unannounced appearance in the White House press room yesterday afternoon – for blunt, personal, unscripted comments on the Trayvon Martin verdict — reflected one of the theories his aides have about breaking through in this crazy media age: Surprise is a big deal. If the White House had announced a speech on race on Thursday (when he decided to give it), or even an hour before, there would have been a tsunami of vapid predicting and preening by the time he stood and delivered. Instead, the speech came as a total shock.”
“Obama had told aides the day before that he was ready to speak on the Florida case. In most White Houses, a presidential speech on race would be a complex decision emerging from fevered calculus and consultation. In this case, the President sat in the Oval Office and rattled off the exact thought bubble that he later expressed from the podium. The instant conclusion of his advisers: Just do it. As Obama spoke, he looked at ease — and relieved. He so often seems to be holding back what he really thinks. Yesterday, it was all out there.”