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President Obama chooses his words carefully on Michael Brown
President Obama chooses his words carefully on Michael Brown

As they watched police in military gear spread tear gas in a St. Louis suburb in recent days, White House aides knew President Obama would be expected to weigh in on race. But rather than bold words, Obama's reaction in this case has been shaped by an acute awareness of self-imposed limits. White House officials argued that in a nation polarized on racial issues — and deeply split about the president — strong language from Obama about the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the protests and looting in Ferguson, Mo., would risk worsening the problem rather than making it better. "His words can't heal things overnight — centuries of racial history...

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