Obama: ‘I can’t get the press off my lawn’

President Obama made a surprise appearance today before Gibbs took the podium to tell the press corps about a conversation he just had with Sergeant James Crowley, the officer who arrested Henry Louis Gates.

I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently.  And I told this to Sergeant Crowley.

I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station.  I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well.  My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.

During the conversation, according to the president, Crowley asked his how to get reporters off of his lawn.

"I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn," Obama said. "He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn.  But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass."

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