Does Obama Really Fear The Police?

by | July 27, 2009

In an interesting NYT Week In Review article about the post-1969 black and Latino elite, Helene Cooper wrote:

And it emerged again last week, when Mr. Obama joked in the White House East Room that if he ran afoul of the police, “I’d get shot.” In saying this, he seemed to draw on the fears of black men across the United States, including those within the new power elite.

I'm pretty sure that's not what Obama was saying. Let's go to the relevant portion of the transcript from that White House press conference, in which Obama made his remark (joke, really) about getting shot:

I mean, if I was trying to jigger into--well, I guess this is my house now, so--(laughter)--it probably wouldn't happen.(Chuckling.) But let's say my old house in Chicago--(laughter)--here I'd get shot. 

It seems pretty clear that Obama was talking about what would happen if he--or anyone for that matter--was caught trying to break into the White House, which, of course, is protected by heavily armed Secret Service agents. That said, it was a bit uncomfortable hearing Obama make that joke, given all the fears about his security. Even if he wasn't slighting cops, I can't imagine the Secret Service was laughing.

--Jason Zengerle

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