Prez’s mea culpa goes over smooth at Irish pub
President Obama’s call to Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley wasn’t only a turning point in a national firestorm – it was also a big hit among the beer drinkers and eavesdroppers who heard Crowley take the call at Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub in Kendall Square.
“I ran over to grab some drinks, and the bartender told me, ‘Hey, they’re on the phone with President Obama,’ ” waiter Kyle Shearer said with a nod toward the back table where Crowley had been seated with a group of colleagues. “I couldn’t believe it until I got close enough to hear Obama’s voice.”
Shearer said he overheard the president apologize to Crowley and ask if there was anything he could do. Two days earlier, Obama had suggested Cambridge police had “acted stupidly” by charging Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. with disorderly conduct.
Minutes after the phone conversation, the president appeared on the large TV screen on the wall of the bar.
“The president was on TV, talking about the man I was standing next to,” Shearer said. “Even I felt powerful. And I’m just a lowly waiter.”
Afterward, the mood of everyone in the pub lifted, he said, and a couple of cops bought a round of Bud Light.
The brush with history left Maine visitors Brad and Tammy Curtis and Roddy and Karen Rublee awe-struck yesterday. For the past 21 years, the friends have made an annual pilgrimage from Bangor to take in a Red Sox game.
“When we heard the cheer, my husband said, ‘It must be soccer or cricket,’ ” Tammy Curtis said. “I mean, what were the chances of us walking into all that?”
Both Crowley and Gates said Friday they plan to take the president up on his offer to have a beer at the White House.
“I have spent my entire career as an academic attempting to bridge differences and promote understanding among all Americans,” Gates said in a statement released yesterday by his lawyer, Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree. “To that end, I have pledged to do all that I can to help us learn from this unfortunate incident.”
White House hopes Gates, Crowley come for beer