Last night, President Obama took to primetime to discuss health care reform—or as the Washington Post puts it, he "confronted increasing doubts about the impact of widespread changes to the health-care system, seeking to assure middle-class Americans on Wednesday that the landmark legislation he envisions would improve their quality of life and is essential to curing the nation's economic ills." However, that part of his remarks seemed "lackluster" and "cautious and choreographed" compared his sharper, more passionate thoughts on the arrest of his friend, Harvard academic Henry Louis Gates Jr..

When the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet asked Obama about the arrest during the Q&A, Obama admitted he might be "a little biased" because Gates is a friend. But he said the neighbor's call about the potential robbery (when it was really just a locked-out Gates trying to get into his house) was good: Obama hoped the police would be called if he was seen breaking into his home, but just his Chicago home, since if that happened at the White House, "I'd get shot," prompting laughter from reporters.

He went on to point out that by the time the police arrived, Gates was inside his home and proved he lived there, "I don’t know - not having been there and not seeing all the facts - what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact."

Obama also noted that he sponsored a bill requiring race, age and gender of drivers to be recording during stops when he was in the Illinois Legislature and said, "Even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently and often time for no cause casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that’s why I think the more that we’re working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques... the safer everybody is going to be.’"

The Boston Globe asked the police officer, Sergeant Joseph Crowley, who arrested Gates about Obama's remarks; Crowley said, "I think I’d be better off not commenting on that one."