Obama takes a Bud Light swig with black scholar, white cop

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Washington, July 31 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama knocked back a few cold ones with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant James Crowley in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon.

The happy hour at the White House took place a week after the two men - Gates and Crowley - were at the center of a heated debate over racism showing its ugly face again in America.

Vice President Biden also joined them in a gathering that some dubbed the "beer summit" to clear the air after the recent uproar.

According to Fox News, Obama described it afterward as a "friendly, thoughtful conversation."

"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," Obama said.

The dispute began July 16 when Crowley, while investigating a report of a potential burglary at Gates' house, arrested the agitated professor on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Gates, who is black, accused the white sergeant of racial profiling. The charge was dropped-but the dispute exploded into a national debate, particularly after Obama said the police had "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates.

Obama later said he could have "calibrated" his words differently, and he organized Thursday's gathering to diffuse any remaining tension and settle the matter with a conversation over each man's brew of choice.

On Thursday, Gates and Crowley, dressed in dark suits, had Sam Adams Light and Blue Moon, respectively, while Obama, in rolled up shirt sleeves, had a Bud Light. Biden joined them with a non-alcoholic Bucklers.

They also munched on peanuts and pretzels served in small silver bowls as the media snapped photos.

Crowley said at a news conference after the meeting that he and Gates have agreed to meet again to continue their conversation.

Gates followed with a message on The Root, a Web site he edits, saying that he had developed a greater appreciate for police officers and their "daily sacrifices on our behalf."

"It is incumbent upon Sergeant Crowley and me to utilize this great opportunity that fate has given us," he said.

Before the meeting, Obama had tried to downplay its significance.

"With respect to tonight, I have to say I'm fascinated with the fascination about this evening," Obama told reporters.

"I know this has been called the 'beer summit.' It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys. It's three folks having a drink at the end of the day and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other. And that's all it is," he added. (ANI)

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