White House: Obama ‘welcomes’ conversation inspired by Zimmerman verdict

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President Barack Obama gestures to the audience before speaking about the Affordable Healthcare Act in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2013 in Washington DC. President Obama said that the affordable care act is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of over 8.5 million Americans. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama gestures to the audience before speaking about the Affordable Healthcare Act in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2013 in Washington DC. President Obama said that the affordable care act is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of over 8.5 million Americans. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Obama “welcomes” the conversation about race, gun violence and the safety of American teenagers that has resulted from the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, according to his spokesman.

“He believes we need to have these conservations,” said White House Spokesman Jay Carney.

Carney, asked repeatedly at a Thursday press briefing about the Zimmerman case and the president’s reactions, declined to say if Obama planned to address the verdict publicly beyond the statement he issued on Saturday.

Carney said there were no plans for a broader racial discussion led by the president, in part because “we are having it now.”

“This is a conversation that — again, as I was pointing out, it’s happening already, and that’s a good thing,” Carney said. “And it’s happening at every level, including around kitchen tables and in churches and on cable TV and here in the White House briefing room, and, you know, in a variety of ways in places across the country, and that is a good thing.”