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President Obama Comments on Zimmerman Verdict in Surprise Briefing Room Appearance

President Obama made a surprise appearance in the White House Briefing Room this afternoon to expand on an earlier statement about the ruling in the George Zimmerman trial.

Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, as well as all three business networks, took the news conference live. David Muir anchored a special report on ABC that began at 1:47 p.m., just as Obama was finishing up his remarks. ABC aired an abbreviated version of the President’s remarks on tape.

“There are very few African-American men,” said the president, “who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me. At least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”

Obama did not take questions, but said the administration would try to arrange for a press conference to take questions on other topics, including the economy and immigration reform, in the coming weeks.

>Update: NBC News covered highlights from Obama’s remarks in a special report at 3:01 p.m. anchored by Brian Williams with Chuck Todd.

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