tv The Situation Room CNN July 19, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
about. often a president likes to throw himself into a court case and barack obama just did it. trayvon martin is like emmett till. it's going to be a dark moment in american history. >> thanks so much, i appreciate it. that's it for the lead. now it's wolf blitzer's turn. "the situation room" is on right now. happening now, breaking news, an historic, potentially game changing moment for president obama nearly one week since george zimerman's not guilty verdict. the first african-american president of the united states, as you rarely see him sharing his very personal sometimes painful experience as a black man living in this country, i'm quoting him now, trayvon martin could have been me. now, the national conversation about race it's generating, the legal impact and what does this mean for president obama's legacy? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room."
when trayvon martin was first shot, i said that this could have been my son. another way of saying that is trayvon martin could have been me. >> powerful emotional words from president obama, speaking publicly for the first time since the verdict about trayvon martin's death, drawing a uniquely personal connection between himself and the millionings of african-american men living in the united states. the surprise remarks, almost 20 minutes in the white house briefing room, coming nearly a week to the day that george zimmerman was declared not guilty, amid growing demanz for him to address the issue, the president did so today. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is joining us with some behind the scenes look at how all of this came together. >> reporter: as you point out, there were calls for president obama to speak out in the wake
of the verdict all week, especially within the african-american community. white house officials tell me that president obama was watching the reaction to the verdict since it came down last weekend. he spoke to his family about the reaction and he spoke to his team here at the white house. he was watching responses both in the african-american community and in all communities across the country, they tell me those reactions, as you know, quite varied. i'm told that it was last night that he went to his team here at the white house and said that he would like to talk to the nation about the verdict and about trayvon martin's death. he would like to do it in both personal terms and at some length and he decided with them that the white house press briefing room would be the best place for him to do that. so he surprised it all by stepping behind the podium, right before jay carney's daily briefing this afternoon. president obama broke his silence offering his own
experiences as a window into frustrations and sadness in the african-american community. >> when trayvon martin was first shot, i said that this could have been my son. another way of saying that is, that trayvon martin could have been me 35 years ago. >> reporter: he spoke in uncharacteristically blunt and personal terms. >> there are very few african-american men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. that includes me. there are very few african-american men who swrhavt had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. that happens to me at least before i was a senator. those sets of experiences inform how the african-american community interprets what
happened one night in florida. and it's inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. >> reporter: for a president who often offers color blind answers to questions about race -- >> and the best thing that i can do for the african-american community or the latino community or the asian community, whatever community is to get the economy as a whole moving. >> reporter: today's comments were a striking departure. >> there's a lot of pain around what happened here. >> reporter: president obama said his team is weighing a number of policy responses to trayvon martin's death, training state and local officials to avoid racial profiling, encouraging states to reconsider stand your ground laws, backing new programs that support young black men. >> is there more that we can do to give them a sense that their
country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them. >> reporter: the president made clear, he respects the jury's decision. >> they rendered a verdict and once the jury has spoken, that's how our is the portioner woxs xz. >> but he says the reaction to the verdicts deals with something larger. >> and if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that from top to bottom, both the outcome and the after math might have been different. >> i just ask people to consider if trayvon martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? and do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting mr. zimmerman who had
followed him in a car because he felt threatened? and if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws. >>. >> reporter: well, sources also tell me that president obama has not spoken with trayvon martin's parents, although you did hear him acknowledge them in his remarks today and also in his statement over the weekend. i should also point out that the president did suggest in hiss remarks that he believes race relations are improving in this situation with every generation. >> he cited his own daughters sasha and malia that sum up his remarks, that things are getting better, but not yet where it should be. that was the bottom line, the optimistic note that he wanted to leave us all with. >> reporter: and he said having a conversation about this now,
having a conversation about race relations could have a window into the future. >> let's continue the conversation right now, joining us now, the co-countdowner of t the -- david webb, also joining us, the new cross fire co-host, the former who is official van jones. let me play this one little clip, the president getting very personal in his comments today, listen to this. >> there are very few african-american who is haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously. and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. that happens often. and, you know, i don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the african-american community
interprets what happened one night in florida. >> let me start with david, what do you think? >> well, i find it interesting, wolf, that the president said there are very few african-americans out of the millions that have not had this incident happen to them where someone clutches their purse and he says i don't want to exaggerate it, i want to know anecdotally how he comes by this evidence. >> has it ever happened to you, that you went into an elevator and a woman clutched her purse or that you crossed the street and you saw people locking the doors of their cars, the president said that that has happened to him growing up as an african-american man. >> that has happened to many, it hasn't happened to me. there is a monolithic block of people and this happens to all of you or to most of you. where is the discussion when the president wades into this with a
presidential magnaphone, that this is something we need to talk about because we can't pretend that racism doesn't exist, but we also can't pretend that racism exists everywhere and that is a dominant part of americans. >> let's let van get into this conversation. first of all, van, has what happened to the president, as he says has happened to virtually every african-american man in the united states, has that happened to you growing up in the united states? >> it happened to me in the south and at yale law school. >> what exactly happened to you, give us some specifics. >> oh, i remember one time, i was trying to -- i had been volunteering in the community and i was leaving the community and going back on to the campus and a whole -- there were three white students who were on one side, and they saw me coming, they went to the other side of the street. i raised my hand just to say
hello, and one of them almost broke into a run, and then she realized i was a student and then everybody laughed nervously. that kind of thing happens. the president is supposed to be on key issues the educator in chief. and often presidents will appeal to their personal experiences. ronald reagan would do that. and sometimes if you have a kennedy or a reagan, they talk about being irish, or they talk about being catholic. this president as the edge indicates for in chief, it's bracing for people, but i don't think it's a shock. if we were truly the color blind community that -- >> but to assert that those experiences are similar for everyone or most african-americans as he puts it, you exaggerate because it's based on anecdotal experience. i have had a bad experience, in
college i was jumped by a bunch of white guys, it was over a campus party. it wasn't a racial incident as far as i saw it, but i didn't walk away from that saying i'm going to run away from everybody who's white or has animus towards me. it's about how we deal with each other. you talk about educator in chief, then educate on how we react as a mow ssaimosaic, a na with -- we are one nation. >> we are. and one of the things i would like to say and i think we can probably agree on this, we are the most diverse country in the history of the world. my children go to school, there's 37 languages spoken in that school system and they mostly get along. the challenges that we have on this, if the president speaks on this, he's i don't think, ee'sr
has been opened here. i think people are shocked about how different the reactions have been. there's fear in the white community, fear that they -- that and i think there's fear among white people that they are on trial constantably, that maybe they are racist and they feel trapped by that. i think there's a door to some empathy possible, maybe they can say, maybe these black people somehow feel trapped. maybe we all feel trapped. maybe there's a way to use this -- the president called for context and conversation. he did a good thing, he did a presidential thing and we should take him up on the offer. >> there's also fear when you look at the vile hatred that comes from people in the black community towards whites, towards me, towards others just because there's a difference in political party. this incident with trayvon wasn't a white black issue.
this was a crime that was adjudicated in the court system. but for some -- something that the president has spoken. he could have spoken on this issue. he could have spoken susinctly, he could have used personal experience. but it looks like he wants multiple bites at the apple while claiming the high road. anybody black or white should have been very much more careful with the presidential megaphone. >> hold that thought for a moment. because we have to take a quick break. but i want to get back to that point, our panel, both van and david are staying with us, there's lots to discuss, lots to debate. and we're also going to hear from the parents of trayvon martin. they have just literally, just responded to the president's speech. you're going to hear all of what they're going to say, that's coming up and join zimmerman's defense team also responding. we just got a lengthy statement from the zimmerman defense team
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i. george zimmerman's defense team has just issued a lengthy statement responding to the president's speech. in it among other things, they say this. we have listened to president obama's comments about the verdict in the zimmerman case. people are focusing on this, quote, trayvon martin could have been me 35 years ago. to focus on this one line misses the nuances of the president's message which includes comments about how african-americans view the zimmerman case in the context of the history of racial disparity in america. and then the zimmerman defense team goes on to add, while we acknowledge and understand the racial context of this case, we challenge people to look closely and dispassionately at the facts. we believe those who look at the facts of the case without
prejudice will see that it is a clear case of self-defense and we are certain that those who take a closer look at the kind of person george zimmerman is, something we understand the department of justice is currently doing, we are confident they will find a young man with a diverse ethnic and racial background who is not a racist, a what who is in fact sensitive to the complex racial history of this country. your reaction to what we heard from the zimmerman defense team? >> i thought that was a very responsible statement. and i actually think we should be proud as a country. i have listened to the different stations, social media always has an edge to it. people are trying to rise to a certain occasion. even the president, very measured in terms of his comments. i hope we turn to each other now. i think that's a very responsible statement. >> what did you think, david?
>> i think the statement is responsible, they take us back to what happened in the case. what we have now in this country in a national conversation, wolf, is we have gone beyond the case and from the justice system to social justice. which is now what do we do? i'm for reviewing the stand your ground laws, i think that's something we should do to make sure laws are written carefully, as i have talked about before, they are being used by gangs when there is gang to gang crime and violence, that's something that's an unintended consequence. and there are other things we can address in this nation, but we don't want to take this beyond justice to a level s of animous. it is not under every rock and it's not under every corner. and unfortunately there are those who would take it in that
direction. >> in the context of this statement from trayvon martin's parents, they issued this statement reacting to the president. we are deeply honored and moved that president obama took the time to speak publicly and at length about our son trayvon. we are thankful for president obama's and michelle's prayers and we ask for your prayers as we move forward. we know our family has become a conduit for people to talk about race in america and to try and talk about the different -- in order to become a better people. what touches people is that our son trayvon benjamin martin could have been their son. president obama sees himself in trayvon and identifies with him. this is a beautiful tribute to our boy. and our hearts of course go out
to trace sky martin and sybrina fulton, let me get your quick reaction. >> i think again we have a responsible, level statement. it was not unlike what happened after trayvon was shot and killed that his mother issued a very level headed statement. they should not be the focus of the animus that goes on in this entire play or this tragedy as it play outs. they are parent wlos have lost their child. when it has been taken beyond that and again when it comes to the president weighing in on this, i'm not against the president weighing in on issues, this is a nation, he's the president of all of the united states. but when you take it and the president was very careful to parse his words, to speak as he saw it, then we also ought to look at what he said and how it affects, how it could affect certain quarters where people are dif dieding us and we are one nation, what i don't like is a president who goes in and
there's a political aspect to this and that i see that is a repetition of a past strategy, i don't like that. i think the president could have kept it much more out of it. >> first of all i think the president is calling for context and i think that's very important. i think, david, you're right, we are one country and we're going to be one country. i'm a ninth generation american. a ninth generation american, i was the first one in my family who had any rights. the civil rights act was passed in 1964-65. it wasn't so long ago that any nonblack could tell a person to do this and do that, if didn't go along with it, they could be killed. that wasn if our sisters and brothers who
are black want us to become one country--we don't have to agree on the facts but we should understand each other's feelings and that's the important thing that the president is calling us to do. this context matters. i don't think it's just about anecdotes by the way. there's something wrong with our criminal justice system. they're now saying that white and black kids use drugs, which i'm against, at the same level, but black kids go to prison at twice the rate. can we sit down and have that conversation? i think conservatives are very concerned about the violence that they're seeing happen and so are liberals. can we -- >> hold your thought. both of you hold your thought for a moment, you're not going away, there's a lot to discuss, you both raise important issues as does the president, the trayvon martin family, the defense team. also the political impact of president obama's powerful remarks on race today. and later, you're going to hear
what trayvon martin's older brother wants the whole world to know. a lot's happening right now today on "the situation room." [ whirring ] [ dog barks ] i want to treat more dogs. ♪ our business needs more cases. [ male announcer ] where do you want to take your business? i need help selling art. [ male announcer ] from broadband to web hosting to mobile apps, small business solutions from at&t have the security you need to get you there. call us. we can show you how at&t solutions can help you do what you do... even better. ♪
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happening now, the breaking news we're following. president obama joins in the conversation about the verdict in the zimmerman trial. trayvon martin's brother has something he wants the whole world to know about his younger brother. also the growing protests against stand your ground laws. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room."
we're following the breaking news, the historic moment for the first african-american president of the united states today, president obama, heeding growing calls to address the zimmerman not guilty verdict and sharing some personal experiences that essentially make him no different from trayvon martin. the speech came with no warning, could have huge implications for the president's legacy. also joining our panel gloria borger and van jones and david west are still with us. the political fallout for this could be -- >> i think it's predictable. i think this is a president and this is a white house that knows every time the president talks got race, he becomes a lightning rod.
and he took it to another level today, you know, originally he said, trayvon martin could have been my son. today he said 35 years ago trayvon martin could have been me. and i think they understood what they were getting into. but i think this is a president who after a few days or five days actually, of sitting back and watching this decided that he had no choice but to speak and wanted to speak and so they know it's kind of treacherous, he stayed away from the justice department case, he stayed away from commenting on the verdict. but what he tried to do as president was give the context to this, to all americans about why some african-americans are quite upset. about the verdict. >> the strategy of the president to surprise all of this with this friday afternoon speech? >> i have thought all along that he had to do something, he was under intense pressure from the african-american community who
has not been totally happy with a lot of the things that he has done or mostly not done in terms of the african-american community. i sort of saw this not quite -- i feel like it was a speech that was pushed by the african-american community but was aimed largely at those who did not understand the response. and i think that you know, i could be trayvon line was more about, okay, i know that you can't relate to this young 17-year-old man, but you can relate to me because you know me and i'm the president. and here are my experiences. i think it was an attempt to kind of relate these two worlds that play out, and it doubto doesn't play out as easily in black and white but those are the general ones. >> the president wrapping up his speech today in the briefing room on this optimistic note, listen to this. >> as difficult and challenging
as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, i don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better. each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. it doesn't mean we're a post racial society, it doesn't mean that racism is eliminated. but, you know, when i talk to malia and sasha, and i listen to their friends and i see them interact, they're better than we are. they're better than we were on these issues. >> van, i want you to respond to that, but in the context of what we heard david webb say a few minutes ago, there's a vile notion, he stayed out there, and i'm sort of paraphrasing what he said, that there are also too many black people out there who
hate, he used the word hate white people. >> well, you know, to the extent that that's true, it's horrible and i think what we're going to have to do now is get a little bit more sophisticated. at first the conversation was very binary, i think the problem is that either racially motivated vigilante, or it's racial demagoguery start -- maybe we have multiple problems, maybe we have an epidemic of violence within the young black community, that's a problem, and maybe we have people who are being mean to and especially suspicious of black kids beyond that which is warranted. maybe there's some demagogues on the black side, that's a problem. maybe we got a bunch of problems here and that's why we need to come together and talk, as opposed to getting tribal and
figuring out what team you're on, we should be on team america. >> when you were talking about too many black people hating white people? >> what i mean in that is that the context of not every black person, obviously. but we see this playing out by those who play the race game, i call them the race profit tiers. this is a very complex issues. when it gets binary, it gives an opportunity to those that profit off the argument and off the hate. there are conversations to be had in this country about black unemployment, urban flight, 13.7% unemployment, youth unemployment, 32%, detroit, chicago, the issues within the black community where we need to franklin have a conversation just within the community about what is right and what gives you a better opportunity for a future including education, including keeping fathers in the home. there's so much more to this, that would actually bridge against that kind of visceral
reaction, which is one wrong, and which causes more of the argument that working towards solutions. >> everybody stand by. van, you want to respond to that? go ahead. >> david, i just hope you don't leave the impression that the majority of racial hatred is coming from black people to white people. >> i think it's those that are the loudest that cause the problem and i'm with you on the binary nature, it's not that simple. blacks are not monolithic, whites are not monolithic. it's not that simple. >> all right, now we can take a break and continue this conversation in a moment. much more with our political panel when we come barks, we're also hearing from trayvon martin's brother now for the first time since the verdict, we're going to find out what he's telling our own legal analyst sonny hostin, stay with us. you really couldn't have come at a better time.
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candy crowley, gloria borger and david webb. at the end of his remarks today, the president outlined various proposals in general terms what the country needs to do right now. >> i think it would be productive for the justice department governors, mayors, to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels. in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists. i think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws, to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedy, we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and re-enforce our african-american boys.
>> all right, david webb, you're a leader of the tea party in new york city, you have any problems with the president's proposal? >> no, as a matter of fact, these are some of the approaches we need to take and i said before that when it comes to even just neighborhood watches and the community, if the national action network wants to do some work and the rallies are this weekend all across the country, part of that might be to sit down with neighborhood watches and the community and say one, these are the things we need to do to educate you, neighborhood watches should be identified, this is how you approach someone, this is how you respond if you're approached in the community. we need to educate. education is at the core of getting through problems and that's something we need to do a better job of in this country. it's a responsible statement, my concern is the followthrough and what will be taken out of context and then also used by those that have a different agenda. >> van, go ahead, make your point.
>> well, i just think that this is remarkably encouraging. here you have a tea party leader who says the president's saying something that makes some sense and then goes beyond that to make a proposal about how al sharpton and neighborhood watches could work together. i think that if we continue in this way, it's a good thing. i also want to give some credit to some of the young people who have been gldemonstrating acros the country and they have been trying to push for policy reform, they're not taking it into their own hands, they're trying to get the system to work. the positive things that can come out of this if you get past the extremes, i think david's proposal is very good. >> would it have been appropriate if the president directly arzed trayvon martin's family, his parents, would it have been appropriate for the president also to address george zimmerman and his parents and his family given what they have gone through over these past several months?
>> i think in hindsight, that's probably going to be something that the president regrets. i think it wouldn't have taken very much to have added a line of comfort to them. i think that where he was coming from authentically is that most of the devastation is for the people who are concerned about the trayvon martin family, i think he was coming from that place authentically, i think he may have some regrets on leaving that out. it leaves open a line of attack on him for people who don't see him as being constructive, but people trying to interject race and exploit the issue. i think he may have made a mistake there. >> david, you want to ask? >> i think there was a little bit of a political calculus in what i see playing out in this, yes, i agree he should have said something about trayvon's family. yes, trayvon is dead, this is the fact, that is the worse case, and we don't know what
happened in those minutes together. we don't know what's in george zimmerm zimmerman's heart. i have spoken to his brother, i have spoken to others and i think we should recognize that there are layers in there tragedy. i also see a political component in that, with the rallies this weekend, it is possible that this bolsters the base which supports the president, that he is standing up for them. he has been under a lot of pressure from the black community, he's been under a lot of pressure from jesse jackson, al sharpton, and others to pick a side. and i think he could have gone just a little bit better in not appearing to pick a side. >> gentlemen, stand by, candy crowley is still with us. the growing push to change stand your ground laws in florida and across the nation and later trayvon martin's older brother and there's something he wants all of us to remember about trayvon. of the lexus performance vehicles,
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when trayvon martin was first shot, i said that this could have been my son. another way of saying that is, that trayvon martin could have been me. >> let's bring in clarence page, good friend of the program and good friend of mine. what do you think, when the president says that and you go back a few presidents, what does that say to you? >> first of all, i was surprised that he came out today. i kind of resigned myself to him just ducking this issue to cool off. >> why do you think he wanted to
duck it? >> look back at his presidency, every time he has spoking out on race off the cuff he has gotten in trouble for it. last week he was very measured when that verdict came down. i think to his credit, he came out because so many people wanted to hear him on this subject, even conservatives who just wanted to shoot him down, no matter what he said, they wanted to hear him take a stand. what's the second term for but to get out there and say what you really think? i think he spoke from the heart today, i was very impressed with it and he spoke for a lot of people. >> it sounds to me, maybe i'm reading too much into your analysis, if he were a first term president maybe looking down the road to get re-elected, he wouldn't have done what he did said, a second term president doesn't have to worry about politics. >> when he spoke out about a serious issue, a friend of him who had been arrested in his own
home, a crazy episode, he wound up having to do a beer summit photo-op to smooth over ruffled feathers. he's got people out there ready tocuse him of racism. this is volatile territory. i deal with it all the time. that's my job as. >> do you have any problems with any of his stubstantive comment? >> i heard the criticism is that he should have said a few more kind words about the zimmerman family. i think it was important that he did say once again that we need to abide by the court' decision.
>> clarence, thanks very much for coming in. clarence page of the "chicago tribune." coming up, someone we rarably hear from, trayvon martin's older brother, he has a special message. which is why we're proud to help connect our students with leading employers across the nation. (next stop: financial center) let's get to work. when she was only fifteen hours first open hold. surgery... handing her over for surgery is the hardest thing i've... ever had to do. before obamacare, insurance companies could put lifetime... caps on your health insurance. once you hit that cap... they don't pay anymore. zoe was half way to her cap before her first birthday.
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big rallies are planned for tomorrow across the country to push for changing stand your ground laws. cnn's nick valencia has more. >> reporter: while trayvon martin's supporters protest florida's gun laws at the governor's office friday, other supporters are planning a day of rallies. >> not just here, but around the country, and express their anger about this verdict. >> reporter: calling it justice for trayvon day, rallies and
vigils are planned in about 100 cities. often seen side by side, organizers say the father of trayvon martin will be at a rally in miami and his mother will be at one in new york. >> my son was unarmed, and the person that shot and killed him got away with murder. >> reporter: many of the demonstrations are scheduled to take place outside federal courthouses like this one in atlanta. their message to demand that george zimmerman be charged by federal prosecutors. >> we believe trach martin's civil rights were violated. >> reporter: while some protests turned violent, protesters are calling for calm, including the president. >> if i see any violence, i'll remind folks that that dishonors what happened to trayvon martin and his family. >> reporter: siding with martin's family, protesters at the florida governor's office are demanding a repeal of the stand your ground law that permits deadly force in self-defense with no duty to retreat. after occupying the governor's office for several days, rick
scott met with the group. the governor told the protesters he, too, mourns the death of trayvon martin, but he supports the law and won't push to change it. >> i'm not going to call a special session. >> reporter: refusing to take no as an answer, protesters vow to keep up the pressure on lawmakers. so far, the justice department has pledged a full investigation. protesters tomorrow will be pushing for something a little bit more concrete. wolf? >> nick valencia reporting for us, thanks. we'll stay in touch with you. one person we've heard virtually nothing from this week is trayvon martin's own brother, but now he's spoken with cnn legal analyst sunny hostin. >> jahvaris, tell me what you want the world to know about your brother. >> i would just like to tell the world that i don't believe he was responsible for what happened to him that night and that he wasn't on trial. zimmerman was. >> what do you want to see as a result of this?
>> i would like to see our foundation raise awareness about profili profiling, because we shouldn't have to, but there is a certain way boys like me and young men have to conduct themselves in public so that, you know, we're not -- >> deemed suspicious. >> yeah. >> jahvaris fulton speaking with our own sunny hostin, an impressive, young man. stay with us. we're going to play president obama's remarks on race in their entirety. that's coming up in our next hour. ♪ [ male announcer ] it's a golden opportunity to discover a hybrid from the luxury car company that understands that one type of hybrid isn't right for everyone. come to the lexus golden opportunity sales event and choose from one of five lexus hybrids that's right for you,
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saving time by booking an appointment online, even smarter. online scheduling. available now at meineke.com. we'll get back to the president and his comments in a moment, but there's some other important news we're following right now, including a possible significant breakthrough in the middle east peace process. mary snow is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what happened, mary? >> well, wolf, it looks like secretary of state john kerry's persuaded israelis and palestinians to return to the negotiating table. reports say kerry's shown
palestinian authorities what's being called a landmark concession by israel. israel's justice minister says four years of diplomatic stagnation are about to end. detroit may not be able to declare bankruptcy after all. a michigan judge ruled the city's bankruptcy filing unconstitutional and ordered officials to withdraw the case from federal court. michigan's attorney general immediately announced plans to appeal. the city is $18 billion in debt and seeking bankruptcy protection to restructure its finances, something union officials fear will wipe out thousands of people's health insurance and pension benefits. new fallout from the edward snowden leaks. u.s. intelligence officials this afternoon announced a top-secret court has renewed permission for the government to collect telephone data. a statement from the office of the director for national intelligence says it has decided to declassify and announce the program renewal, which occurs periodically but is never publicized. and in canada, investigators for that country's transportation safety board have determined insufficient braking
force was applied to a freight train before its tank cars broke loose and derailed this month, setting off explosions that killed at least 38 people. the train's engineer says he set 11 hand brakes on the cars before leaving the train unattended. wolf? >> mary, thank you. happening now, one of the most powerful moments of president barack obama's presidency. >> when trayvon martin was first shot, i said that this could have been my son. another way of saying that is trayvon martin could have been me. >> the president opening up about trayvon martin's death in extremely personal terms, explaining why so many african-americans are frustrated by george zimmerman's acquittal. this hour, you're going to hear the president's historic remarks at length on his own experience with racial bias, the harsh realities for young black men in america and his ideas for improving the climate in this
country. i'm wolf blitzer. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. you're in "the situation room." for more than 17 minutes, president obama spoke more extensively, more personally about race in america than he has since taking office. the breaking news this hour, his surprise appearance in the white house briefing room to talk about trayvon martin's death and georgezimmerman's acquittal. he had been silent for nearly a week except for a written statement he released on sunday and under a lot of pressure to speak out about the verdict, the backlash and what it all says about the state of race relations in this country. we're going to discuss every angle of this historic moment this hour, but first, listen to the president. >> the reason i wanted to come out today is not to take questions but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the
issue of the trayvon martin ruling. i gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week, i thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit. first of all, i want to make sure that, once again, i send my thoughts and prayers as well as mir michelle's to the family of trayvon martin and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they've dealt with the entire situation. i can only imagine what they're going through, and it's remarkable how they've handled it. the second thing i want to say is to reiterate what i said on sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case. i'll let all of the legal
analysts and talking heads address those issues. the judge conducted the trial in a professional man ner. the prosecution and the defense made their arguments. the jurors were properly instructed that in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. and once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works. but i did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. you know, when trayvon martin was first shot, i said that this could have been my son. another way of saying that is trayvon martin could have been
me 35 years ago. and when you think about why in the african-american community, at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened to him, i think it's important to recognize that the african-american community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away. there are very few african-american men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. that includes me. and there are certainly very few african-american men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street andearing the locks click on the doors of cars. that happens to me, or at least
before i was a senator. there are very few african-americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. that happens often. and i don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the african-american community interprets what happened one night in florida. and it's inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. the african-american community's also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from
the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. and that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case. now, this isn't to say that the african-american community is naive about the fact that african-american young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they're disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. it's not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. we understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor, black neighborhoods around the country is borne out of a very violent past in this country. and out of poverty and
dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. and so, the fact that sometimes that's unacknowledged adds to the frustration. and the fact that a lot of african-american boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that african-american boys are more violent, using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain. i think the african-american community is also not naive in understanding that statistically, somebody like trayvon martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by
somebody else. so, folks understand the challenges that exist for african-american boys, but they get frustrated, i think, if they feel that there's no context for it and that context is being deni denied. and that all contributes, i think, to a sense that if a white, male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario that from top to bottom both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. >> we're going to have more of the president's very personal remarks. we're going to play those for you later this hour. trayvon martin's parents issued a strong statement saying they're deeply moved by the president's remarks and they applaud his call to open a dialogue about race.
among other things, they say this -- "president obama sees himself in trayvon and identifies with him. this is a beautiful tribute to our boy. trayvon's life was cut short, but we hope that his legacy will make our communities a better place for generations to come." george zimmerman's defense team also put out a statement acknowledging the racial context of the trial and the importance of having a national discussion about race, and then they added this -- "those who take a closer look at the kind of person george zimmerman is -- something we understand the department of justice is currently doing -- we are confident they will find a young man with a diverse ethnic and racial background who is not a racist, a man who is, in fact, sensitive to the complex racial history of our country." by the way, tonight a cnn special, "race and justice in america" after the zimmerman verdict. join anderson cooper 10:00 p.m. eastern/7:00 pacific, only here
on cnn. once again, stand by for more of the president's very personal remarks. he talks about what would have happened if it had been trayvon martin who had a gun and stood his ground. and we'll also get reaction from the president's former aide, the so-called body man. reggie love will join us here in "the situation room." and i'll also speak with reverend jesse jackson and national urban league president marc morial about what the president said and what more they want him to do. we know it's your videoconference of the day. hi! hi, buddy! that's why the free wifi and hot breakfast are something to smile about. book a great getaway now and feel the hamptonality
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the needs of people 50 and over for generations. remember, all medicare supplement insurance plans help cover what medicare doesn't pay. and could save you thousands a year in out-of-pocket costs. call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now -- and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. it was a truly unique, historic moment, the perspective from the president on race. this is the nation's first african-american president. was it an important lesson for white america? did it feel at all like a lecture? what was going on? what was the reaction in the african-american community? right now we're joined by two of the nation's most prominent civil rights leaders, the reverend jesse jackson, president of the rainbow push
coalition. also joining us, the national urban league president, the former mayor of new orleans, marc morial. >> hi, wolf. >> reverend jackson, do you have any problems at all with what the president said or what he didn't say? >> there's a step in the direction of healing. of course, he has had to suppress much of his feelings because of just the intensity of it all. you know, if he had done the saxophone thing like bill clinton did, i would consider it inclusion. if he had done it, it would have been considered polarizing. he's had to walk on egg shells, but i think that the situation now is so intense, he felt the need to express it, and i think it's good for the healing of the nation. >> marc morial, what did you think? >> it was the perfect tone, it was presidential, it was personal. i think the president also spoke from the heart, and he did what i think he's uniquely qualified to do, and that is to move the nation towards healing and
understanding. certainly, our hope is that it is a step and only a step. and i do think that many americans, not just african-americans, but americans of all hues, backgrounds, creeds and colors understand that the result of that trial was not just, and that's why there's been such an emotional reaction, especially as i have said, coming on the heals of the supreme court's decision in the voting rights act case. together, together they've, i think, shocked the consciousness of the nation. that's why you see so much expression like the activities that are going to take place tomorrow in over 100 cities. but the president was perfect today and i'm pleased he spoke, i'm pleased he did it today, but i'm hopeful and encouraged that this is the beginning. >> all right. reverend jackson, listen to what the president said about young
people right now. listen to this. >> there are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. and is there more that we can do to give them a sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them? >> and you're in chicago, reverend jackson. you've got a serious problem going on with a lot of young people, especially those gangs in chicago. how do you relate to what the president said, his message to young people, and what's actually going on right now in your community? >> well, we need more than the conversation. we need jobs, training skills and transportation. our heroes are organized in englewood, unemployment for adults is 30%, for adults 50%, that's true in englewood and
lawndale and many cities around the nation. we must invest in the formative years of these children, so we need more than a conversation. we need transportation and education and trade skill training, and that will cost. it will cost more to not do it. >> you want to add something to that, marc morial? >> no, i agree exactly what reverend jackson has indicated, but i think we also have this important challenge because one might ask can the nation afford those investments? the real question is can the nation afford not to invest in our young people at this time of great difficulty? because to not do it means we exacerbate these problems. after all, you've seen an effort to put billions of dollars into border control. is that a more important priority? i would suggest to you than saying let's invest in our children? you have efforts to put a man on an asteroid.
i'm all for the space program. is that more important than investing in our children? we have to elevate the priority of investing in our young people, in our children -- job training, education, all of these things -- but it's got to be a higher priority. and hopefully, today's remarks by the president can move us in that direction. >> all right, gentlemen, stand by for a moment -- >> i think -- >> hold on a second, reverend jackson. i want to continue this conversation. we're also going to speak with a close friend of the president, his former aide, reggie love. he's going to be joining us. but people protesting the zimmerman verdict. we're going to talk about what's going on in the country right now with the reverend jesse jackson, marc morial. they're standing by. the president raises a very important question, and the question is this -- what if, what if trayvon martin had been armed? you really couldn't have come at a better time. these chevys are moving fast. i'll take that malibu. yeah excuse me, the equinox in atlantis blue is mine! i was here first, it's mine. i called about that one, it's mine.
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i think it's understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent. if i see any violence, then i will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to trayvon martin and his family. but beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? >> we're back with the reverend jesse jackson and marc morial, president of the national urban league. reverend jackson, if the justice department, eric holder, the attorney general, the first african-american attorney general in our country, decides
they don't have the goods, they don't have enough evidence to launch some sort of criminal investigation under the civil rights laws against george zimmerman, how disappointed will you be? >> well, in some manners i will be, but this is not -- trayvon is a symbol of a deeper malady. it's trayvon in sanford, it's oscar brent in oakland, it's ste stephon, a kid shot in chicago. do you realize that there are more than a million black men in jail, the most of any place in the world, that private equity firms that make $1.5 billion a year off of prison telephone calls plus prison labor? there's some kids that have been in chicago jail for ten years waiting in pretrial detention. we have this jail safety net and that's why president obama is suggesting we invest in it, not just talk about it. >> how disappointed would you be, marc morial, if the justice department says there's not going to be any criminal charges filed against george zimmerman under the civil rights laws?
>> well, wolf, i'm not prepared to say how i would feel, because i do think it's important that we not prejudge an investigation which is really just beginning, and i think the justice department should be given an even, level playing field to conduct their investigation. but while that is going on, the issues that reverend jackson recommends, some of the steps that the president suggested today should be undertaken. it is so important that we seize this moment, that we understand the deeper, more serious, systemic challenges that this case has laid raw, and also that we recognize that there will be great expression tomorrow with the vigils in 100 cities, great expression in august as we conduct the civil rights continuation march. there's going to be a continuing conversation about this. i would also make an appeal to
local elected officials and people at the local level, mayors and governors and others, not to simply sit back, because this is playing out in cities like chicago and atlanta and new orleans and baltimore, oakland, each and every day. and the leaders of those communities need to see this as a leadership moment, a time for them to step up and renew, a time for them to step up and lead to try to figure out what the solutions are to many of these problems. >> if the president of the united states wanted to start a dialogue on race on the issue of race in america, he certainly has today, and we're going to continue this dialogue. unfortunately, we've got to leave it right there. >> thank you. >> reverend jackson, always good to have you here in "the situation room." marc morial, thanks to you as well. >> thanks, wolf. coming up, the president's former personal aide, reggie love, he'll be with me here in "the situation room." he's going to tell us what he thinks about the president's revealing remarks. then we'll also hear the president's take on what might have happened if trayvon martin
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now, the rest of the president's very personal remarks about the trayvon martin case. >> so, let me just give a couple of specifics that i'm still bouncing around with my staff, you know, so we're not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where i think all of us could potentially focus. number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, i think it would be productive for the justice department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists. you know, when i was in illinois, i passed racial
profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. one, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped, but the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing. and initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually, they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straight-forward way, that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them, and in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. and obviously, law enforcement's got a very tough job. so, that's one area where i think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if
state and local governments are receptive. and i think a lot of them would be. and let's figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training. along the same lines, i think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the florida case, rather than defuse potential altercations. i know that there's been commentary about the fact that the stand your ground laws in florida were not used as a defense in the case. on the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms,
even if there is a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see? and for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like the stand your ground laws, i just ask people to consider, if trayvon martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? and do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting mr. zimmerman, who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? and if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
number three, and this is a long-term project -- we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our african-american boys. and this is something that michelle and i talk a lot about. there are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. and is there more that we can do to give them a sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them? you know, i'm not naive about the prospects of some brand-new, federal program. i'm not sure that that's what we're talking about here, but i do recognize that as prief pres
i've got some convenient power and there are a lot of things being done across the country on this front. for us to be able to gather together, business leaders and clergy and celebrities and athletes and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young african-american men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed? you know, i think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation, and we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that. and then finally, i think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul searching. you know, there has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race? i haven't seen that be particularly productive when,
you know, politicians try to organize conversations. they end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. on the other hand, in families, in churches, in workplaces, there's a possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about am i bringing as much basis out of myself as i can? am i judging people as much as i can based on not the color of their skin but the content of their character? that would, i think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy. and let me just leave you with a
final thought, that as difficult and challenging as this whole eps h episode has been for a lot of people, i don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better. each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. it doesn't mean we're in a post-racial society, it doesn't mean that racism is eliminated. but you know, when i talk to malia and sasha and i listen to their friends and i see them interact, they're better than we are. they're better than we were on these issues. and that's true in every community that i've visited all across the country. and so, you know, we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues, and those of us in
authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. but we should also have confidence that kids these days i think have more sense than we did back then and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did and that along this long and difficult journey, you know, we're becoming a more perfect union. not a perfect union, but a more perfect union. all right? thank you, guys. >> very personal comments from the president of the united states. he was president obama's special assistant, personal aide. so, what does reggie love make
of the president's remarks? we'll speak with him. and quick criticism of the president from one republican senator, ted cruz. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but a friend under water is something completely different. i met a turtle friend today so, you don't get that very often. it seemed like it was more than happy to have us in his home. so beautiful. avo: more travel. more options. more personal. whatever you're looking for expedia has more ways to help you find yours. [ male announcer ] you wait all year for summer. ♪ this summer was definitely worth the wait. ♪ summer's best event from cadillac. let summer try and pass you by. lease this all-new cadillac ats for around $299 per month or purchase for 0% apr
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we're joined on the phone by the president's former special assistant, his personal aide, reggie love, a man who knows the president very well. it wasn't easy, i'm sure, for the president to make this decision. what usually goes in when he finally decides, reggie, that he's going to come out and speak about race in america? >> i mean, hi, guys. it's reggie here. wolf, thank you for having me on today. it's a great question.
you know, i think in this scenario, i think it's very hard to -- i think you have to synthesize a lot of different data points, but i think ultimately, there are not many people who can speak from the same perspective that the president can speak from. from within, you know, from within the actual inner circle. >> i mean, he's been a mentor to you over these years. i'm sure the two of you have had many opportunities over these past several years to talk about race. what has he said to you that stands out, reggie, in your mind right now? >> um, i think we've talked about some, and i think some of the biggest things that we've talked about, i mean, the fact that he and i had such different interactions as young african-american men growing up. you know, he went to columbia, didn't play sports. and myself, i went to a
university that had the demographics of a columbia and i went to duke, but i played college athletics. and i think, you know, i didn't have sort of the struggles that some people probably have because i think, you know, in the world of sports, i think it's one of the few areas that actually sort of bridges, you know, cultures, races. socioeconomics. but i do think that, you know, he talked about in his book, we've come a long way as a country but we still have a very long way to go. >> did you have the same experience as he had? he spoke personally when he said -- and i'm just sort of paraphrasing a little bit what he said. he said the experience of being followed when he goes into a department store as a young man. he said that included me. he said there are very few african-american men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. that happened to me, he said.
there are very few african-americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously, holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. that happens often. he suggested it happened to him as well. have those kinds of things, reggie -- and you're a lot younger than the president -- happened to you? >> you know, i would say that for most people who look like me or who look like the president, you know, unfortunately, i think there are times and there are places where you, when you look and sound a certain way, you're not always sort of given the benefit of the doubt. and you know, that goes not only for race. i think that goes for gender and for sexuality as well. me personally, yeah, i've had those experiences happen to me. i think i probably haven't had them happen to me as often as
those other people, because you know, i come from a place where, you know, i've spent a bunch of time with people like the president, people like coach k., who are sort of for folks who don't know what it's like or folks who aren't necessarily close to folks who look different than them. so you know, i've probably gotten more of a break probably and am received more openly than most people who are my peers. and to say that that's fair, you know, no. to say that i understand it, i do. you know, perspective is a powerful thing. and you know, everyone comes from different places and everyone has different histories. and as we grow as a country and as a nation, perspectives will change. >> and you've been blessed, reggie, with mentors like the
president of the united states, coach mike krzyzewski, your coach when you played basketball. so, you've been fortunate indeed. reggie, we'll continue this conversation. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me and have a great weekend, man. >> you, too, buddy. thanks very much. up next, president obama questions stand your ground laws and draws some sharp and immediate criticism from republican senator ted cruz. but first, lucy lui is a unicef ambassador. the actress recently visited syrian refugee families. hi. i'm lucy lui, and we can make an impact for syrian children. syria is in a terrible situation right now. there is civil war going on that is creating absolute pandemonium, and people are fleeing into lebanon, into jordan, into iraq. 6 million people have been displaced, and half of them are children. these children are suffering. they have lice, there's scabies
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republican senator ted cruz of texas had immediate reaction to the president's remarks. >> it is not surprising that the president uses, it seems every opportunity he can, to try to go after our second amendment right to keep and bear arms. i think it is unfortunate that this president and this administration has a consistent disregard for the bill of rights. >> let's talk about it with our cnn political analyst, democratic poster cornell belcher and david webb, co-founder of the new york city tea party is still with us as
well. cornell, what did you think of that reaction? >> we're getting ready for 2016 already, wolf, really? i think what he said clearly he's talking to his partisan base, is this someone who has bigger political ambitions than the u.s. senate. and from a political standpoint, pure politics, it makes sense for him to be out in front on this. i think it is problematic from a pass and smell test. it doesn't seem quite right from to attack the president after the president made a speech that a lot of people talked about was a healing, a speech for him to play partisan politics already. >> david webb. >> on many things i agree with senator cruz, on this one he's gone way ahead of this. this hasn't gotten to that level. we saw that happen after newtown where there was an attempt to deal -- to attack the second amendment rights of americans. right now we have other issues on the table, which is to refute the conflating of, say, of voting rights act decision with
the supreme court with mark morial and all the other issues brought into this. we don't need to go beyond the scope of what we're dealing with. we need a real conversation. and i don't even necessarily limit it to that term. we need action on dealing with educating people on how to interact with each other at the community level and as americans to solve some of the problems that get lost in the hyperbole of it's either black or white or racist or not. and when we take these things beyond that scope, if it arrives there, have that debate. i'll agree with cornell on that. but we're not there on the second amendment rights here. >> cornell, you have an interesting take on the timing of the president's decision to come out early afternoon today and speak. it is a sensitive moment. >> i think it is a sensitive moment and from what i hear from the folks at the white house, who still take my calls, it was something that it wasn't planned, wasn't something they had -- they knew about, something that has been pressing on him, something he's taken the time to think about it.
and he think it is important, though, at the same time is it -- the rallies that will be happening this weekend, i thought it was important for the president to get out and say something very healing before the rallies this weekend. >> and also, david, for the president to say, you know, no violence, go ahead, you can march, you can rally, do what you want, but don't get engaged in any violence because that would betray trayvon martin's legacy, if you will. >> and i agree. those words are important coming from a president, but as far as the timing of this, the president has had days, and, look, i don't know why or how he spoke, no one can say. we have a president is a very smart person when it comes to politics, and to make and sure he appeals to his base and he's been under a lot of pressure. is it possible he said, look, friday before the rallies, this is a good time to come out and speak, this speaks to my base, this speaks to the criticism i've been getting, that's also a possibility. on the other hand, i'm with cornell, rallies, your first
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saving time by booking an appointment online, even smarter. online scheduling. available now at meineke.com. reaction pouring in. here is cnn's athena jones. >> i said my thoughts and prayers as well -- >> reporter: reaction to the speech was swift, but not uniform. in los angeles, relief by some that the president gets it. >> it is good to have somebody like at the top that knows how it is to, you know, be black. >> reporter: but others in the african-american community said it wasn't a speech they needed. >> for him to say it out there is just another politician saying something that is supposed to sound like -- it is another sound bite for them. >> reporter: in florida, for protesters seeking a change to the state's stand your ground laws, the comments buoyed their resolve. >> the president of our country was speaking about the issues and the way we're speaking about the issues. i hope he follows that up with
action. >> reporter: in washington, we showed clips from the speech to tourists at the martin luther king jr. memorial. are you pleased to hear the president come out and give such extensive remarks on this topic? >> yes, because i think it needs to be said, and talked about more. >> to have an african-american male really step forward and say, these are the experiences that i've had, but not enough to say that he said these are the experiences i've had, but in front of the mainstream culture. >> if i would have been him, i probably would have said, listen, we all see it from different viewpoints and not pick a side. >> reporter: in comments o fox news, george zimmerman's brother robert said invoking race was a disservice. but applauded the president's call for soul searching. >> i think the american people need to kind of have some time to digest what really happened and to do that soul searching the president spoke of. >> reporter: critics like fox news anchor sean hanity suggested the president's remarks did more harm than good. >> like he did today, bending over backwards to put this trial
into a racial context, in spite of the mountain of evidence that it does not exist here. >> reporter: these are the president's most significant remarks on race in years. and we expect to hear more and more reaction over the coming days as folks closely examine the president's speech. wolf? >> athena, thank you. that's it for me. "erin burnett out front" starts right now. up next, joe biden said he's not sure if the federal government can help detroit. so what does that mean about the future at the motor city? new development tonight in the asiana airline investigation. one of the victims that died was killed by an emergency responder. and president obama breaks his silence on the george zimmerman verdict. what did he say? let's go "out front."