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Washington Sketch: Beer Summit Wasn't One for the Guinness Book

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Obama had initially invited Crowley over for a beer to make up for saying the police had acted "stupidly" in arresting an unruly Gates after he broke into his own home in Cambridge, Mass. But he didn't calculate just how intoxicated the media would be with the idea.

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Recognizing too late that he had set off a media Oktoberfest, Obama tried to calm things down Thursday afternoon. "I'm, I have to say, fascinated with the fascination about this evening," he said. "I noticed this has been called the beer summit. It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys; this is three folks having a drink."

In the briefing room on Thursday, Gibbs was asked what "you hope you will have accomplished" by the overcovered gathering.

"No more questions about what kind of beer they're going to drink," Gibbs replied.

After his drinking buddies had departed, Obama released the kind of statement typically seen after a world leader's visit, praising his interlocutors for the discussions they'd had "even before we sat down for the beer."

Crowley was more descriptive in a news conference later. Nobody apologized for the incident, and "you had two gentlemen agree to disagree," he said.

Did Obama contribute to the discussion? "He provided the beer," the sergeant quipped.

Will the professor and the cop meet in a bar for a second beer? "I think meeting in a bar for a beer on a second occasion is going to send off the wrong message," he reasoned. "So maybe a Kool-Aid or an iced tea or something like that."

After their first draught of beer summitry, folks at the White House are probably thinking the same thing.


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