From NBC's Scott Foster
During a photo spray with the Philippines president, the president spoke about tonight's meeting with Harvard Professor Gates and Sgt. Crowley.
Obama said he's "fascinated with the fascination about tonight."
Video: President Obama speaks on his chat with a black professor and the white police officer who arrested him.
He added that he's heard this has been called the beer summit.
"That's a clever term, but this is not a summit," he said. "It's three folks having a drink at the end of the day and hopefully giving an opportunity to listen to each other."
He continued: "This is not a university seminar; this is not a summit; it's a personal interaction. ... The issue has been so hyped and symbolic you lose sight that there are people involved inclduing myself all of whom are imperfect."
He added that "hopefully instead of ginning up anger and hyperbole," there will be some self reflection and that other people have "different points of view."
On his meeting with the Philippine president, Obama said he "would be surprised if the media makes this [the beer summit] the lead as opposed to this very important meeting with this important ally, but the press has surprised me before."