President Obama Responds to Zimmerman Verdict

President Obama Responds to Zimmerman Verdict

It was an extraordinary and surprise appearance by President Obama in response to the George Zimmerman verdict.

Without any prior announcement, the President appeared at a nearly-deserted White House Press Room Friday afternoon. He waited for the press court to file in and then began by reaching out to Trayvon Martin's parents.

"I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle's to the family of Trayvon Martin," Obama said.

Then, in deeply personal remarks, he compared himself to the slain teen.

"When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me," Obama stated.

He explained why so many African Americans are angered by the verdict.

"There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me," Obama said.

He called for more understanding and dialogue and said that he had hope for the future.

"But, you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they're better than we are. They're better than we were on these issues," the President said.

The reaction from television commentators was instantaneous.

CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said, "I think he certainly struck the right tone. I think people, especially in the African American community, have been waiting for the President to weigh in on this issue because there has been a sense within the African American community that justice was not done here."

Meanwhile, television personality Charles Barkley is weighing in on the George Zimmerman verdict, and you may be surprised at his take. Barkley told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo that he watched the trial and paid close attention to the evidence.

"I agree with the verdict," Barkley said. "I feel sorry that young kid got killed, but just judging by the evidence, that guy should not have went to jail for the rest of his life."

He says he's dismayed at the level of racial acrimony the verdict has sparked.

"The main thing I feel bad for, it gives every black and white person who is racist, a platform to vent their ignorance," Barkley stated.