Why Did Obama Speak Out on Trayvon?

(Image Credit: Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)

President Obama had been aware of Trayvon Martin since his death became a "major news story" over the past several days and "clearly had some thoughts about it and - as a parent, and expressed those to you today," White House press secretary Jay Carney said today.

Earlier in the week the White House publicly referred to the Martin case as a local law enforcement matter, declining further comment. But Carney said today that Obama was all along "certainly prepared to answer a question if he were to get one."

"As you could tell from the answer the president gave, obviously he is aware of it, was aware of it, and has thought about it," Carney told reporters. "And he shared his thoughts on the case today with you, and that's my answer."

Carney continued later, "He was - certainly had thought about it, was aware of what's happening with regard to it in terms of the investigation locally by local law enforcement, the task force now that's been established by the governor of Florida, as well as the Department of Justice's investigation.

"So given all that, it was inevitable probably that he would be asked about it.  So he was - he had - he had thought about it and was prepared to answer that question when he got it."

Carney said he did not know whether Obama intends to call Trayvon's parents or whether the president had heard the police tapes from the case.

At a morning Rose Garden press conference, Obama called on Americans to do some "soul searching" in the wake of the incident which took place in an Orlando suburb last month.

"When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids," he said.

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