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Obama on Trayvon: That could have been me

By CNN Staff
updated 2:33 PM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama spoke out publicly on Friday for the first time on the Trayvon Martin case following the acquittal of George Zimmerman last week.

Appearing at the White House, Obama injected a personal perspective on the verdict as well as a legal interpretation of the outcome.

What follows are some select comments from the president:

- When Treyvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is that Treyvon Martin could have been me.

- "When you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here. I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away."

- "There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me. There are very few African-American men who have not 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 have not had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had the chance to get off. That happens often."

- "Some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country. .. And the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. ... And so the fact that sometimes that's unacknowledged adds to the frustration."

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