Kennedy said the meeting will have people talking and there will be some degree of public learning, but that he hopes "the discussion would go in a more illuminating way than much of it has gone."
While the Cambridge Police Department and some national organizations are standing behind Crowley, police groups representing minorities say the president should not back down from the discussion.
The beer meeting serves "no significant purpose for resolving those issues that impact people of color," said Sgt. Anthony Miranda, executive chairman of the Latino Officers Association. "We need to keep this on the broader level."
Ronald Hampton, executive director of the National Black Police Association, echoed that sentiment.
"I don't think it's going to change anything," he told ABC News. "It is not going to do anything if we don't have a serious conversation about it. People need to come together and talk about it."
Gibbs said today the White House has not suggested that one meeting would solve existing problems between minority communities and law enforcement, but reiterated that the president views the meeting as a "teachable moment."
Obama jumped into the middle of the heated debate when he was asked about the incident at his prime-time news conference last week. Obama said the Cambridge police acted "stupidly" in arresting his friend, Gates, sparking a flurry of angry responses from police organizations. The president later clarified his remarks, saying that cooler heads should have prevailed on both sides, and turned it into what he called a "teachable moment" for the country.
Obama called Crowley and Gates on Friday and proposed that the three get together to discuss the incident at the White House over a beer. The White House is now hoping to turn the debate into a dialogue about racial profiling.
"I think the president sees this as an opportunity to get dialogue going on an issue that has... been historically troubling and one he has worked on," White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."
But moving ahead may not be such an easy task as both men are steadfastly sticking by their claim that the other is not telling the truth.
As for what beer they'll drink, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted Monday that the president hoisted a Budweiser at the All-Star Game in St. Louis earlier this month, while Sgt. Crowley told the president he was more partial to Blue Moon. Gates told the Boston Globe he likes Red Stripe and Beck's, but the White House doesn't stock foreign beer.
In the hopes of clarifying the story, on Monday the Cambridge Police Department released the 911 tape and radio dispatches from the incident.
The tapes do little to settle the differing accounts between Gates and the arresting officer.
The woman who made the 911 call, Lucia Whalen, reported seeing two men break the screen door of Gates' front entrance to enter the house. The woman admitted she saw suitcases, and said several times she's not sure whether the two are house residents or are breaking in.
When asked about the race of the men, the caller said she thought one looked "kind of Hispanic" but didn't see what the other man looked like.