Gates told the Boston Globe in an e-mail late Friday that he spoke to Obama and said he would meet with Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley. Gates said he hoped his arrest by Crowley leads to greater sensitivity on racial profiling and that it was time to "move on."
Obama extended the invitation Friday in phone calls to the two men as he sought to calm a national debate over racial profiling. He invited both to share a beer.
In his conversation with Gates, aides said, Obama and the professor had spoken about the president's statement to the press and his conversation with Crowley.
A joint statement by three Massachusetts police unions said they appreciated the president's "sincere interest" and added that Crowley had a friendly and meaningful conversation with Obama.
Obama has come under intense criticism from police organizations for saying at a prime-time news conference this week that Cambridge police had "acted stupidly" by arresting Gates, a friend of the president's. Obama said he had called Crowley to clear the air, and said the conversation confirmed his belief that the sergeant is an "outstanding police officer and a good man."
Obama tried to lighten his tone in his public remarks about his phone conversation with Crowley.
He said the police officer "wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn."
"I informed him that I can't get the press off my lawn," Obama joked.