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White House Spokesman Says Image of Baltimore Mom Pulling Her Son From Riots 'Resonated

“That is a powerful expression about the role parents can play."

A helicopter with a spot light watches over police and protesters before a mandatory, city-wide curfew of 10 p.m. near the CVS pharmacy that was set on fire yesterday during rioting after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The viral video of Toya Graham pulling her masked son away from fellow rioters in Baltimore prompted White House reaction Wednesday, as a spokesman talked about the role of parents and government in the lives of children.

“The thing that resonated with me was her expression that she was concerned about her son facing the same fate as Freddie Gray,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in response to a question.

Earnest said he did not talk to President Barack Obama about the video, but said he believed it was safe to guess that he saw it.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest gestures as he talks about the Islamic State group during the daily press briefing, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) AP Photo/Evan Vucci AP Photo/Evan Vucci

“While I’m sure it was not the immediate reaction of her son to feel like she was looking out for his best interest, there is no doubting that her reaction was one that was rooted in her concern for his own safety and his well being and her love for her child,” Earnest continued. “That is a powerful expression about the role parents can play. That expression of love is very conspicuous and one that I think will serve as a powerful influence on that young man’s life.”

People online dubbed Graham the "mom of the year" for her actions including shouting at her son, “You want to be out here doing this?!” and “Get the f*** over here! Get over here now!”

Earnest said Obama has been an advocate for more parental involvement since his 2008 campaign. But, referring to the president’s Tuesday comments about the situation in Baltimore, Earnest said that in some situations, it is “virtually impossible for parents to do right by their kids.”

“There is a significant role for the government to play in terms of putting in place policies like good schools, economic opportunities, early childhood education, even making sure kids have good access to health care are in line with the kinds of things that government can do to ensure the government can do to address these endemic problems,” he said. “The president also believes that we should not overlook the critically important role that parents can play in setting some guidelines and setting some structure for their kids to give them a chance to succeed.”

One last thing…
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