Editorial: Presidential Mis-Step

(WOIO) - President Barack Obama suffered a bout of foot-in-mouth disease last week when he tried to come to the defense of a black Harvard professor arrested at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The president, whose political timing is usually much finer-tuned, said that Cambridge cops reacted stupidly by arresting Henry Louis Gates after neighbors mistook him for a burglar while trying to enter his own home. By jumping to conclusions and insinuating himself where he didn't belong, the President ignited a predictable uproar over the racial implications of the confrontation between Gates and the white cop who arrested him.

Days later as he backpedaled furiously to extricate himself from all this. The president retracted the "stupidly" comment but went on to still characterize the episode as a "teachable moment."   Meaning, apparently, that the run-in between the white cop and the black professor still had something to instruct us about the evils of police racial profiling.

Then came news this week that the person who called the cops never described the race of the man she thought might be a burglar. There goes racial profiling and so long "teachable moment."  But instructive still for the President himself who has undoubtedly learned that as President he must remain impartial and above the fray.