August 4th, 2009
06:15 PM ET

Whoopi Goldberg on Professor Gates

CNN's Campbell Brown sat down this afternoon for an exclusive interview with Whoopi Goldberg, the moderator and co-host of ABC’s “The View.” Their conversation touched on President Obama’s recent meeting over beers with black college professor Henry Louis Gates and the white police sergeant, James Crowley, who arrested him after a misunderstanding at Gates’ home last month. The President invited both men to the White House to tamp down a media firestorm that increased after Obama said the police “acted stupidly” in arresting the professor.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows the incident remains very polarizing: Eighty-six percent of black Americans say racism among police officers is common, an opinion only 47 percent of white Americans share. Our poll also shows 63 percent of whites think the president acted "stupidly" in commenting on the story, compared to only 26 percent of blacks.

Campbell asked Whoopi if she thinks Obama, as the first black president, has to bite his tongue sometimes when it comes to what he can say about certain issues, as we saw play out with the arrest of Professor Gates?

Here’s the transcript of their discussion:

GOLDBERG: Yes.

BROWN: You laugh.

GOLDBERG: I do laugh because I just - what everyone is starting to realize is that we do have cultural differences, and we do respond to things in different ways. Now most of us, if our friends - if we have half of the information, which normally most of us have anyway. And you heard that your friend got roughed up by the police, you would say, you know, that guy is a bonehead, man, he's a bonehead. And then you get the facts, and you go, well, you know, you maybe should have done it a little bit different. You know, I don't think he has to so much bite his tongue, but he has to - he has to recognize that people are not used to the president sounding like their next door neighbor. You know, and I think the people, we have to recognize that this is a different kind of president, because this is like a guy, this is like a regular dude, you know.

BROWN: But why, why, why is this a different kind of president? Is it because he's a black president? Is it because he is of a different generation? Or what is it?

GOLDBERG: I really think it's generational.

See more of Campbell’s conversation with Whoopi Goldberg tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

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