At Thursday's press briefing, the evening's "beer summit" was once again discussed in detail.
Harvard professor Henry Gates, Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, and President Barack Obama plan to sit down for a drink at the White House on Thursday night. The when, where and how of the event has been a subject of great interest for the press.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke of the intense speculation about the event.
"I don't think the president has outsized expectations that one cold beer at one table here is going to change massively the course of human history," he said. But, he added, Obama was hoping the get-together would inspire better discussion than his past words on the arrest of Professor Gates.
"I think that that kind of dialogue has to happen in every level of society ... if we're going to make progress on issues that we've been dealing with for quite some time," he said.
More technically, Gibbs discussed the logistics of the meeting.
Obama himself has rejected the "summit" label.
"It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys," he told the press Thursday afternoon.
Instead, it's three folks "having a drink at the end of the day," and giving themselves a chance to "listen to each other." The goal is to lower the temperature on an event that has become "so hyped and so symbolic," try to reduce the "anger and hyperbole," and promote "self-reflection."
He said he is "fascinated with the fascination about this evening."
Intense scrutiny of the event is likely to continue, but the media won't be able to report every detail: press won't be invited.
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