Obama enters Martin debate with personal remarks, questions 'stand-your-ground'
Jul 19, 2013 1:41 PM EDT

President Obama publicly and personally addressed the Trayvon Martin case for the first time since George Zimmerman was acquitted nearly a week ago, saying Friday that the black community is feeling "pain" because of the country's racial "history" and going on to question so-called "stand-your-ground" laws.

The president delivered extensive remarks during a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room. He went far beyond his remarks a year ago in which he stirred controversy by saying if he had a son, he'd look like Martin.

"Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," Obama said.

The president used the highly personal comments to, in his words, put the angst in the black community in "context." And he also appeared to give his support to Attorney General Eric Holder's call earlier in the week for a review of "stand-your-ground" laws. The laws allow people to use lethal force if they feel threatened -- even if they might have the option of retreating.

"If we're sending a message as a society ... that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?" Obama said.