HUFFINGTON: There was a lot of (inaudible) testosterone. The fact that he has come from a long flight from China, but beyond that, I think, there are two teachable moments. And I think it is more of an August Wilson play than a sitcom, because of the richness of the characters.
But the first teachable moment is the obvious one. The president did what he does best. Gracefully and with humility....
STEPHANOPOULOS: On Friday?
HUFFINGTON: On Friday, yes. He basically apologized and asked them to the White House for a beer, perfect.
The bigger teachable moment is the one that Donna alluded to. Because the fact is that right now, if you are black, or Hispanic, you have a much greater chance of being arrested, of being subjected to force, particularly when it comes to the war on drugs. It is really stunning that only 15 percent of the top drug population -- drug offending population is African-American. And yet you have 74 percent of them who wind up in jail.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Arianna, brings up a couple of important points there.
Paul, Glen Laurie (ph) points out, in "The New York Times" this morning, on the Op-Ed Page, that since 1980, the number of people in American prisons has quintupled. It has gone up five times, and three quarters of those in state and local prisons are blacks and Hispanics.
KRUGMAN: Yes, although, I'm not sure if it has that much to do with this case.
Let me say two things about this. First, it is the old line. The definition of a gaff is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. I mean, what Obama said was perfectly reasonable, but he shouldn't have said it.
The second thing is, we are kind of losing sight of -
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think he was reasonable.
KRUGMAN: I think it was.
But look, did Gates -- he was unwise. He was rude. He was yelling. Did he commit a crime? Did he do anything that you could plausibly say you should slap handcuffs on? Right?
And there's a really peculiar thing here, which is, think about how conservatives reacted. Over the last few weeks we've been hearing, endlessly, conservatives talking about how Obama, the Obama administration is tyranny, it's a police state. You know, where it's fascism. It's awful. But they think it's perfectly reasonable to slap handcuffs on a middle-aged man who walks with a cane because he said something rude to a policeman.
My God, I mean, you know, it's -- yes, Gates behaved stupidly no question. There were -- tempers were rising, but you know, a policeman is supposed to say, is this a crime?
WILL: I would like to come back to the question of how did this become a presidential level subject of conversation? I try -- ask you to imagine, A, Dwight Eisenhower being asked a question about a local police episode in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or, B, Dwight Eisenhower being foolish enough to answer the question. There are some...
KRUGMAN: In a way, this is a follow-up. We had -- you know, this is the president that is giving a conference on health care reform. Why was a question about Skip Gates on there? You know, the president -- when the president was in Moscow, he was asked about Michael Jackson.
This is a part -- this about our profession behaving badly.