Obama's Backyard Summit
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Vice President Biden joined President Obama at Thursday evening's much-anticipated "beer summit" -- a phrase that by day's end had become a leading trending topic on Twitter -- at the White House with Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass., police.
The men quaffed beers from clear glass mugs and snacked on peanuts and pretzels served in small silver bowls. The president, as anticipated, had a Bud Light, and Crowley had a Blue Moon. Gates mixed it up by having a Samuel Adams Light -- a gesture of peace towards Massachusetts? -- instead of the advertised Red Stripe, while Biden sipped on a non-alcoholic Buckler.
Crowley did most of the talking during the brief moment that reporters were permitted to glimpse the men; Gates appeared to be leaning in, listening intently. At one point, the president laughed heartily.
Both Gates and Crowley brought their families to the White House, and the two men -- brought together by a 911 call that ultimately led Crowley to arrest Gates on (since dropped) disorderly conduct charges -- toured the East Wing together prior to meeting with the president in the Oval Office, then moving out into the Rose Garden for the sit-down.
Gates was accompanied to the White House by his children, fiance and father. Crowley was joined on his visit by his wife and children. The families toured the West Wing while Gates and Crowley enjoyed beers with the president and vice president.
About that shift in Gates's beer selection, it's interesting to note that Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) wrote the White House this week, urging the president to include Sam Adams in the beer selections, citing it as the only beer that would be wholly owned by a domestic producer. The beer is owned by Bay State brewers.
Posted at 7:25 PM ET on Jul 30, 2009
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