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Exclusive: Pres, Prof and Cop Picnic Script

Exclusive: Pres, Prof and Cop Picnic Script

By David Paul Kuhn - July 30, 2009

RealClearPolitics obtained a prepared White House script for this evening's happy hour diplomacy between President Obama, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley. The script was apparently prepared to brief Obama on the likely conversation. Teleprompters were set up around the picnic table. But Obama thought the press would have a field day and the Teleprompters were removed. Below is the text:

President Barack Obama: Welcome to my backyard. Not bad, huh? This is the actual picnic table where Hillary and I recently met. The press loved it. By the way, I'm sorry that we only have Bud Light at the table, Henry.

Henry Louis Gates Jr: It's fine, Barack. I understand proletariat symbols.

Obama: Wait! Hillary stashes Blue Moon, Stella and Crown Royal all over the White House. Man, that lady can throw back shots. I wonder if there is some beer under here. (Reach down, Mr. President, and the good beer will be by the northwest leg.)

Sgt. James Crowley: Wicked. It's my favorite. Bud Light tastes like water. Blue Moon please.

Gates: I'll have a Stella Artois, Barack.

Obama: Of course, you like the beer that Hillary likes.

Gates: How many times can I apologize for initially supporting her. At first, I could not envision you winning. I've learned recently that when you are intellectually consumed with a history of oppression you can miss the better present. But come on, Barack, I contributed the maximum to your campaign. You know, $4,600 is a lot of money to a doctor in the academy.

Crowley: You're a doctor, Mr. Gates?

Obama: Sometimes profs refer to themselves as doctors because a Ph.D. is a doctorate. On the other hand, some medical doctors believe that when professors co-opt the word (make quote marks with fingers) "doctor" we devalue their profession. Did you know I have a doctorate of law Mr. Crowley?

Crowley: I did, Mr. President. Umm, so do you believe Shaquille O'Neal will play well with LeBron James? I mean, won't there be a clash of egos?

Gates: Why didn't you ask the president about bowling, Mr. Crowley?

Crowley: Because the president sucks at bowling. And it's Sgt. Crowley, Dr. Gates.

Obama: Look, take it down a notch guys. Let's avoid titles, gentlemen. Let's not draw class distinctions. We're all beer-lovin' regular Joes here. Like that plumber.

Gates: I once told someone that, "class is as important, often it's more important in one's daily life, than race, even within the black community."

Obama: You see, Mr. Crowley. He understands. Skip is part white you know, Irish in descent. In fact, research shows the two of you are descended from the same genetic line of this Irish warlord. And did you also know my mother was white and from Kansas? I'm even some Irish. And did you know that Joey, my veep, is a working class guy from Scranton.

Not only that, but to prepare for this evening, my staff had me watch the movie "Good Will Hunting." Southie folks are fascinating. You know, I was a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. Did you know that I was a community organizer?

Gates: Barack, we all know that.

Obama: Yeah, I turned down millions of dollars as a corporate lawyer to help (make quote marks) "the people." But look, let me get to the point. Between us, Rahm scheduled me to solve racism on January 20, 2010, in honor of King. So chillax guys until then, I'll have racism sorted out soon. As I once told a reporter: I'm LeBron, baby!

Gates: Chillax?

Obama: My daughters use that word. It's a mix of the terms "chill out" and "relax," according to the Urban Dictionary website. Incidentally, did you know that relax originates around 1350-1400, from the word relax─üre, which means to stretch out again.

Gates: Obvi. That's a word my daughters use. It's short for obvious. Took me a long time to realize that.

Crowley: So you like LeBron, Mr. President? But do you think LeBron and Shaq will get along?

Obama: Oh yes. Pardon me. I sometimes digress into teachable moments. Look, don't sweat Shaq and LeBron. It will not be a clash of big egos. Take Hillary and me. We just had to build an offense that restricted her to a supporting role. They'll do the same to Shaq.

But look, let me be clear on issue at hand. I am absolutely convinced that we can bring all sides together. First of all, look, there is no town and gown. Only communities.

Gates: Barack, this is about race, not towns and gowns.

Crowley: Towns and gowns?

Obama: Oh, right. In college we refer to you folks around the campus as townies. But let's not go there. Let's not get into whether this incident was racially motivated. Clearly, it sparked a racial reaction. Let me be clear:

Many regular white folks--and some of my best friends are white--sided immediately with you as the cop because, like cops, white people feel they are often presumed racist. So they easily sympathize with those presumed racist.

My liberal white friends presumed the incident was proof that racism remains enmeshed in our social structure, despite my presidency. The good fight liberals took up around 1948 made them hyper sensitive to hints of injustice, even amid tremendous progress. So they can overact.

Crowley: Liberals always think they know everything.

Gates: I knew you were a conservative!

Obama: There are no conservatives or liberals at this picnic table. Don't let the pundits slice and dice you. Damn pundits! I wish they could all be like Richard Wolffe. We once shared frosted carrot cake.

But look, also on blacks. Blacks sometimes immediately suspect the worst in cops because of the history of police abuse towards blacks. Rodney King is not a distant memory. And if at times blacks are overly sensitive to racism, it's because past oppression helped make them that way.

Crowley: Thank you Mr. President. You are indeed most articulate--shoot, I mean, I hear what you're sayin'. You know I am an expert in racial profiling. So I really know this stuff, and I agree.

Obama: It sometimes feels like we're living in a Spike Lee movie.

Gates: That's all well and good. But I want an apology copper!

Obama: Skip! Chillax! First, we have to understand both sides. This is how I'm going to solve the divide between Arabs and Jews, settle Kashmir, get Colin Powell and Rush Limbaugh to hug it out, mend our racial divide and, at a summit I'm scheduling for September, bring the towns and gowns together. Sound good?

Gates: Yes, Barack. As the kids say, it's cool.

Crowley: Yes, Mr. President. It's all good.

Obama: Let's all do a group pound. Hit fists on three. One, two--wait I want the television cameras to see! MSNBC is devoting 9 hours to this beer summit to obscure our problems with health care reform. Skip, move over a bit so that the cameras can get a better view of me.

Crowley: So on three, Mr. President, we're doing a terrorist fist jab? Skip, calm down. It's satire.

David Paul Kuhn is a writer who lives in New York City. His novel, “What Makes It Worthy,” will be published in February 2015.

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