Obama calls Harvard professor after calling cop

After surprising reporters in the White House briefing room with an appearance and the news that he had called Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, President Obama called the professor in the case, Henry Louis Gates.

While the president felt it necessary to come to the briefing room himself to relay the call he made to Crowley, the arresting officer who Obama said Wednesday acted "stupidly" when arresting Gates, the news of Obama's call to the professor came by e-mailed statement.

The statement said that Obama called Gates, whom he called a friend on Wednesday, for a "positive discussion" in which Obama told Gates about his call to Crowley and subsequent trip down to the briefing room.

The White House said the president also invited Gates to join him and Crowley at the White House "in the near future." Obama said earlier that he and Crowley discussed having a beer with Gates at the White House.