WILL: This is -- but the press reflects the country. And the country is in the grip of a cult of the presidency. The president is our all-purpose teacher, tutor, moral auditor, philosopher. The president is everywhere. This president is ubiquitous.
Now somewhere between the remoteness of Charles de Gaulle and the ubiquity of Barack Obama there is a happy medium.
HUFFINGTON: Oh, but really this is not about Barack Obama. I mean, this has been happening...
WILL: It's entirely about Barack Obama.
HUFFINGTON: ... going back to Bill Clinton and being asked what kind of shorts he wears. I mean, this is not a new phenomenon.
WILL: And he answered.
HUFFINGTON: Yes. But my point -- precisely, this is not a new phenomenon. I think in fact all of the best presidents we've ever had have been moral leaders. And you know that. I mean, from Abraham Lincoln to FDR, I mean, the things that they are remembered for are -- is not much what they've said as what they did.
WILL: You're talking about slavery and the dissolution of the Union, not a minor police matter in Cambridge.
HUFFINGTON: But you oppose the whole idea of the president being a moral leader, which goes contrary against American history.
WILL: I opposed extravagant investments of faith, hope, and charity in the president.
BRAZILE: ... also someone that the president knew personally, Skip Gates, and could speak a little bit to his character, but also I think that the president, having, you know, had the experience that many black men in this country of being stopped, of being somewhat looked at suspiciously, maybe this was a matter of his heart over his head, but I still believe that the end of the day the president was right in answering in the measured way that he did, the semantics.
Besides, the president of the United States of America is someone that people look up to and they expect that the president can somehow teach us about how to get...
WILL: About everything?
BRAZILE: No, not everything. And this...
WILL: Is there nothing that is done that a president...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But is there a constructive conversation to be had on this going forward? Now that the incident has blot it all out, whether he should have spoken to this particular incident or not, it did raise a broader conversation.
How does he build on it, or not at all?
WILL: Not at all.
BROOKS: Well, I guess -- let's not forget the narcissism of the educated class here. Last night there were probably a thousand guys who were hassled by police who no one is going to talk about because they don't happen to go to Harvard, they aren't known by the media class and the political class. They don't summer with them on the Vineyard.
So this was an overexposure of this one issue, forgetting the other much larger issue, which, you know, we don't know those people is essentially the...
HUFFINGTON: But maybe to George's point, it happened. Now that it happened, can we get something good out of it and actually put the spotlight on the bigger problem that we had begun to address, that this is going on all of the time and that many people end up in jail while if you happen to be white, you would not have ended up in jail for the same crime.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you said it first, it wasn't all that relevant, but do you think there's a conversation to be had there?