IGNATIUS: Yes, because it was so raw and personal and, yet, also, I thought presidential. But he said this isn't the fault of our jury system. Reasonable doubt in these criminal cases is appropriate. He said specifically, don't expect -- African-Americans who are upset about this, don't expect a federal response, it's not likely. He said specifically, don't look to me to lead a national conversation on race. That -- those never work. So I thought it was an honest speech on many different levels. And I thought it showed a kind of leadership that so often, with this reticent president, I felt was missing.
SEIB: You know, it is remarkable to think you could have a president of the United States stand up and say, "I remember a time when I walked down the street and people's car doors locked because they were afraid of me." I mean, I think the president thought really long and hard about this.
IFILL: Not long ago. Not long ago.
SEIB: Not long ago. Not 10 years ago, you know, six or seven years ago.
SEIB: I think he thought really hard about how he could do something that literally he is the only person on earth who could do, which was to speak to the country as the president but about what it's like to be a black man in this country. And I think he decided that he could do this without either second-guessing the judicial system, on the one hand, or stoking racial tensions on the other. That's a hard thing to do.
PAGE: You know, we talk about the limits of a second-term president, and we see that when we talk about the issue of immigration, for instance, the greater difficulty he has in getting political clout for that. This is an advantage of a second-term president. Because I think he feels freer to talk about issues of race that he was reticent to talk about when he was going to run for office or face reelection. And so I think Gwen is probably right that this is -- the first line of his biography is going to say, "He was the first African- American elected president." That's part of his legacy. I think we're going to see him dealing more with this with the freedom that comes with a second term.
DICKERSON: In talking with somebody close to the president, we went all the way back to his candidacy, and it was based on the hope that America was ready for an African-American president and that, five years later, he's basically -- on Friday -- he was placing the same bet that he was trying to make a nuanced pitch, trying to slide it in there, very complicated. But he was basically making the same bet, is the country still ready for me to make this kind of a statement? You know, it's not just that he's the president. He's the -- he also spoke as a law professor. He also spoke as both somebody who said Trayvon could have been his son and "It could have been me." As Jerry says, he's the only one who could have done this. And it was faith in the audience, and I don't know if that audience is still there.
SEIB: But I do think he's going to do it sparingly. I think he believes this is a currency that he could squander if he uses it too much. And he doesn't want to be the African-American president. He wants to be the president who is African-American. And I don't think he wants -- I think he wants to pick the right spots and pick them sparingly to make this kind of statement.
IFILL: There's another piece, and that's what the black audience was seeing in what he was saying. There was a -- there was a lot of speculation the day of the talk that he was giving in to pressure from Civil Rights leaders and others who were demanding that he speak, when in fact, when they were asked what the president should do, they said to the White House, he doesn't have to say anything; Eric Holder spoke; that's nine. They were giving him a pass. But he said he didn't want this pass. So part of it was, yeah, speaking to white people, white voters, America at large, but speaking very specifically to African-American who were getting exhausted by -- remember the woman who came out and said she was exhausted by defending the president. There was a lot of exhaustion, especially behind the emotion among young people about this verdict. And so I think he felt he had to speak specifically and say not only to white folks, understand what black folk -- what the pain is that black folks are feeling but also to black people themselves that "I get you; I am your African-American president."
SCHIEFFER: What happens, Michael, now?
SCHERER: I think one of -- the most interesting question for me is how does the black community respond? It's clear we -- we are a country who can elect a black president. We are a country who can have a black attorney general. We're not a post-racial society. And the black community, over the last five years, has actually gone backwards in a lot of ways, you know, was hurt harder by the recession than other groups, still has enormous unemployment rates, still has issues of racial profiling, enormous frustrations. And there's two stories that are being told. You have a black community that actually out-performed whites in the 2012 elections in terms of turnout and yet continues to be incredibly frustrated that they're not being represented. And I think this is going to be one of these crucial moments when we look back to see, is this community, as a political community, able to move beyond, in terms of organization, the goal of having African-American leaders -- because they have that now -- to actually moving the ball towards improving the situation they're in? And I think there's a lot -- you talk to pastors in the black churches -- there's a lot of enthusiasm right now for really seizing this moment to do that, and I think that will be the next -- the next story.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, I'll tell you what, let's take a break right here, and then we'll come back and talk about this and other things in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: Susan, I want to get back to health care. Speaker Boehner said they are determined and he said they're not giving up on killing the president's health care -- health care plan. Now, we know the Senate is not going along with that. They would not go along with that. We know the president has said he would veto any bill that did that. Is health care in doubt right now, this plan going into effect?
PAGE: Well, legislatively Republicans will not be able to kill the Affordable Care Act. Nut, you know, Republicans, especially Republican governors, can make it impossible for it to succeed, especially in some states. More than half the states are refusing to set up the state exchanges that are supposed to open October 1st. That makes it harder for those to work. And almost half the states are refusing to participate in the expansion of Medicaid, which is one of the biggest provisions to cover people who do not have health insurance now. So I think the chances -- I think the Affordable Care Act is in some peril in terms of working the way it was supposed to work and Americans feeling like it's worked.
DICKERSON: You ask John Boehner what's the president's agenda, he says, "I don't know what the president's agenda is." The president -- I mean, the White House told me he starts almost every meeting saying, "Where are we on health care?" This is his number one agenda item, left over from the first term. He's making sure this gets implemented and put in place. So if you want a single illustration of the differences between John Boehner and the president, here you have the president focused on getting it implemented, John Boehner saying he's focused on tearing apart something that passed three years ago. We know it's about the elections coming up; his base really wants this done, but for a party that's trying to think about the future, is undoing a law from three years ago really the best argument you want to make when you're trying to make a new case to the public about a plan for the future from Republicans?