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Beer Summit Details: Obama Hails "Friendly, Thoughtful Conversation" (VIDEO)

First Posted: 08/30/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:45 PM ET

UPDATE:

President Obama issued the following statement after his "beer summit" with Sergeant James Crowley and Henry Louis Gates Jr.:

"I am thankful to Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley for joining me at the White House this evening for a friendly, thoughtful conversation. Even before we sat down for the beer, I learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together listening to one another, which is a testament to them. I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode."

Gates released a statement titled "An Accident of Time and Place " on his Website, The Root, in which he praised Obama and thanked police officers: "Let me say that I thank God that live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I've come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf."

Here is an excerpt:

Sergeant Crowley and I, through an accident of time and place, have been cast together, inextricably, as characters - as metaphors, really - in a thousand narratives about race over which he and I have absolutely no control. Narratives about race are as old as the founding of this great Republic itself, but these new ones have unfolded precisely when Americans signaled to the world our country's great progress by overcoming centuries of habit and fear, and electing an African American as President. It is incumbent upon Sergeant Crowley and me to utilize the great opportunity that fate has given us to foster greater sympathy among the American public for the daily perils of policing on the one hand, and for the genuine fears of racial profiling on the other hand.

Gates told the New York Times that he first encountered the Crowley family in the White House library before the "summit" as each group was getting individual tours and that he walked over and shook the officer's hand:

"We hit it off right from the beginning. When he's not arresting you, Sergeant Crowley is a really likable guy.

Sgt. Crowley gave a press conference after the drinks, in which he said, "We agreed to move forward."

Watch the press conference:

And here is video of the actual beer-drinking:


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As a very private "beer summit" gets underway in the Rose Garden, details remain scant since the "teachable moment' is closed to the press.

But, according to this pool report, Sergeant Crowley seems to be doing most of the talking, Henry Louis Gates is listening intently and President Obama seems to be in a good mood. And Vice President Biden has joined them - drinking Buckler, a low-alcohol brew.

But, according to this pool report, Sergeant Crowley seems to be doing most of the talking, Henry Louis Gates is listening intently and President Obama seems to be in a good mood. And Vice President Biden has joined them - drinking Buckler, a low-alcohol brew.

Here is the pool report:

Beers in the Rose Garden


It was, alas, only a photo op. The pool had no opportunity to ask questions as we were roped off about 50 feet from the group.

The big surprise: Vice President Joe Biden was at the table with the men. POTUS invited him to join the group this afternoon.

Clockwise, they sat around the round, white table in this order: Obama, Crowley, Gates, Biden.

The men were drinking beer from clear glass mugs and munching on peanuts and pretzels served in small silver bowls.

The beers:
POTUS: Bud Light
VPOTUS: Bucklers
Gates: Sam Adams Light
Crowley: Blue Moon

In the 30 seconds your pool was out there, Sgt. Crowley was doing most of the talking. Gates appeared to be leaning in, listening intently. At one point, POTUS laughed heartily.

Gates and Crowley wore dark suits. POTUS and VPOTUS were in white shirts, jackets off. POTUS had his sleeves rolled up.

Both Gates and Crowley brought their families to the White House and they toured the East Wing together before the sit-down. Gates brough his kids, fiance and father. Crowley brought his wife and kids. The men met POTUS in the Oval Office before moving out into the Rose Garden.

During the sit-down, the family members were given a tour of the West Wing.

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Filed by Marcus Baram  |