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WASHINGTON (AP) - As President Barack Obama pleads for calm and understanding in Ferguson, Missouri, he's struggling to determine what role he can play - if any - as the nation's first black president in defusing the crisis.

Aiming to strike the appropriate tone Monday, Obama appeared trapped between the need to stand up for the government's right to ensure law and order and the inclination to empathize with those outraged over the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Obama lamented that in too many communities, young black men are viewed only with fear. But he also said there are young black men who commit crimes and must be prosecuted.

It's a delicate balance that's likely to leave no one fully satisfied.

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