Commentary: Let's talk about race as a nation

The president called a news conference to rally the nation around health care reform. Then he steered his comments to the intersection of race and authority in America and lost control of the message.

In politico-speak, he crashed and burned.

Health care — which affects one-sixth of the nation's economy — got lost in the political dust up over race and allegations of racial profiling in the town of Cambridge, Mass. The national media's focus over the weekend remained on strained relations and long-standing mistrust between black men and police — and whether the president had unfairly maligned a white police officer and his agency.

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