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Obama Says Words Ill Chosen, Calls White Policeman

July 24, 2009  | 

Trying to tamp down a national uproar over race, President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday he had used unfortunate words in declaring that Cambridge, Mass., police "acted stupidly" in arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. "I could've calibrated those words differently," he said.

He stopped short of a public apology. But the president telephoned both Gates and the white officer who had arrested him, hoping to end the rancorous back-and-forth over what had transpired and what Obama had said about it. Trying to lighten the situation, he said he had invited the Harvard professor and police St. James Crowley for "a beer here in the White House."

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