- Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
- President Obama and Attorney General Holder discuss Ferguson on Martha's Vineyard.
UPDATED POST 2:16 PM: "I have to be very careful about not pre-judging," a weary-looking President Obama said about recent events in Ferguson at a press conference minutes ago. "The [Department of Justice] works for me," Obama said, so he can't be perceived with "a thumb on the scale one way or the other." Obama did concede that "we've seen events in which there are big gulfs between community perception and law enforcement perception," but his real message came through loud and clear: He wouldn't be visiting Ferguson or putting out a statement in support of the protesters.
Obama did announce that he would be sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson on Wednesday to investigate the situation. When asked about Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's decision to call in the National Guard, Obama reminded the press corps that governors, and not presidents, control the Guard, and so this wasn't his call. He did send a message to Nixon through the interview: "I'll be watching over the next several days to see if [the National Guard is] helping rather than hindering" the healing process.
When asked about the militarization of police, President Obama could have sounded more forceful. "I think one of the great things" about the United States, he said, was the way we have kept a clear "distinction between our military and our law enforcement... That [distinction] has to be preserved." He concluded, "I think it's probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone—how local law enforcement has used grant dollars to make sure what they're purchasing is stuff they actually need, because there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those lines to blur."
In other news, President Obama said that Iraq and Kurdish forces had seized the largest dam in Iraq from ISIL, calling it "important progress." He used cautious terms like "limited missions" to suggest that he was not escalating troop involvement in Iraq. Nobody on the face of the entire planet was happy with what President Obama said at the press conference today, including, probably, President Obama.
ORIGINAL POST 12:55 PM: He's scheduled to start speaking at 1 pm our time. Will he actually say something of value this time? Let's find out together:
UPDATE 1:25 PM: Wow, he still hasn't showed up. I know he was on vacation and all, but this is ridiculous.
UPDATE 1:26 PM: Press just got the two minute warning.