Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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Being the first African-American president has put President Barack Obama in an interesting, sometimes difficult position when it comes to issues involving race. Back in 2008, then-candidate Obama distanced himself from controversial remarks made by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
"The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we have never really worked through. A part of our union that we have not yet made perfect," Obama said in Philadelphia in 2008.
"That was a brilliantly crafted speech, that's one for the ages," Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian with Rice University, said of the 2008 remarks.
Friday's speech – when in unscheduled and unusually personal remarks Obama tried to explain why African-Americans were upset about last week's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin – were less historical, according to Brinkley.
"It's interesting I think more as personal remarks, than an address to the nation. And the president was just having this burden on his back and felt that he needed to confront all this," said Brinkley.
In unscheduled and unusually personal remarks, President Barack Obama tried Friday to explain why African-Americans were upset about last week's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The Martin family issued a statement in response, saying, in part, "We applaud the President’s call to action to bring communities together to encourage an open and difficult dialogue. Our family is committed to this dialogue through the work of the Trayvon Martin Foundation."
Former White House communications director for Obama Anita Dunn said Obama was trying to address the issues and give "context to both sides, to try to reduce the polarization and the divide around them."
"I think that as he watched the conversation unfold this week, that he felt this was an appropriate time to step forward again, it felt very spontaneous," said Dunn.
A former prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial said it is unlikely the Justice Department will file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing.
"I don't think the evidence is there," said Christopher Darden. "I don't think the Justice Department can bring a criminal case against Zimmerman. Not at this point. Not with this evidence."
The lawyer for Martin’s family told CNN separately that race was not addressed in the case tried in Florida state court, which presents an opportunity for the Justice Department to act.
"In the civil rights violation case, we do get to look directly at race which was not addressed in the state case," said Benjamin Crump. "Nobody can say we addressed race in the trial, and so there should be something that the Department of Justice can look at with fresh eyes."
But Darden dismissed that assertion, saying race was addressed in the state's case by the defense, if not necessarily the prosecution.
Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker applauded President Barack Obama's personal comments on race.
In unscheduled and unusually personal remarks, Obama tried on Friday to explain why African-Americans were upset about last week's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin while lowering expectations for federal charges in the case.
"I was grateful that he came forward, not with some practiced speech, not reading from a teleprompter, but speaking from the heart in a way that could touch other hearts," said Booker.