CHRIS WALLACE: No, Obama Isn't 'Stoking Racial Tensions' By Talking About Trayvon Martin

Chris Wallace Obama

The veteran Fox News journalist Chris Wallace knocked down conservative suggestions that President Barack Obama was fanning racial flames with an off-the-cuff speech on the death of Trayvon Martin and racial progress in the U.S.

Fox contributor Juan Williams had earlier said that Obama’s speech — which was his most extensive on the subject as president — was “risky.” But Wallace brushed off that suggestion.

“I thought that president was trying to put this in context and I think, to a certain degree, he was trying to explain, in a verdict that has been somewhat divisive in this country, why both sides feel the way they do,” said Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday.”

Wallace said that Obama took a realistic tone to his speech, pointing out how he downplayed any notion that the Department of Justice would open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted last weekend of both second-degree murder and manslaughter in Martin’s death.

Instead of stoking racial tensions, Wallace said Obama’s speech could compare to other memorable ones of his career — like those after mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, and in Newtown, Conn., last year.

“Boy, I sure don’t see how you can read this as in any way stoking racial tensions,” Wallace said.

He added: “Initially, he may have felt that anything he said would only increase the tensions. … This is a president who believes in teachable moments, and I think he felt the desire to be on the record and to say what he felt on these issues.”

Here’s the clip, via Mediaite:

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