‘HE’S WRONG!’: OBAMA CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN STICKS WITH POINT
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter during an interview last night with CNN’s Piers Morgan decided she would give the “Romney’s proposing a $5 trillion tax cut” claim another go — despite having earlier admitted Romney’s plan “won’t be near $5 trillion.”
“You said [the $5 trillion tax cut claim] was wrong,” Morgan said after playing a clip of Mitt Romney addressing this specific talking point.
“That’s right. Right,” Cutter responded. “Piers, I’m really glad you brought that up. So, there is this thing called math and here are Mitt Romney’s tax cuts.”
“And if you add up the lowering the tax rate by 20 percent, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, repealing the high income payroll, repealing the estate tax, and lowering taxes for corporations, that totals $5 trillion dollars,” she argued.
“So that’s Mitt Romney’s tax cut,” she continued, “It costs $5 trillion dollars. Now, is he going to close loopholes and deductions (that he won’t name) for those at the top? Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. There’s still not one economist in this country that can point to, ‘yes, he can close loopholes and deductions for those at the very top and that will add up to $5 trillion dollars,’ because it doesn’t.”
Obama Says Immigration Reform 'Biggest Failure'
President Obama appealed to Latino voters for a second term at a Univision-sponsored event today, and blamed Republicans for his failure to make good on his 2008 promise of immigration reform.
Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas repeatedly grilled Obama over whether he broke his promise to bring up an immigration reform bill in his first year in office, which he made to Ramos in 2008.
"My biggest failure is that we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done … but it's not for lacking of trying or desire," Obama said during the event at the BankUnited Center Field House on the University of Miami campus.
"I haven't gotten everything done that I want to get done," Obama added. "That's why I'm running for a second term."
The president said that his first years in office was consumed with attempting to rescue the collapsing economy through his stimulus and auto bailout, leaving little time to address a sweeping comprehensive immigration overhaul.
"That was before the economy was on the verge of collapse," Obama said of his "promise" to Ramos.
The president said that he was also taken aback by the resistance he said he received from Republican lawmakers when he reached out to them about an immigration bill, especially from those who previously supported such measures.
"I am happy to take responsibility for being naive here," he said.
Obama also contrasted his support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to that of Romney, whom he said is "uncertain about what his plan for immigration reform would be" beyond encouraging the undocumented population to "self-deport."
But Ramos would not let him off the hook. "A promise is a promise, and with all due respect, you didn't keep that promise," Ramos said, breaking from asking questions in Spanish to address the president in English.
The president enjoys wide lead among Latino voters over Republican Mitt Romney, who appeared at a similar Univision event Wednesday. But Obama faces a community that is not as enthusiastic about him as they were four years ago.
Obama's 2008 victory was partly fueled by a surge in Latino turnout and the fact that they voted for him over Republican John McCain by a two-to-one margin.
Obama holds an even wider lead over Romney this time around, but a Latino Decisions weekly tracking poll last week showed that Latino voters are no more enthusiastic about voting in November than they were before the party conventions. The president needs these voters to show up in November to better his chances of victory.
One of the main hangups for Latino voters has been the deadlock on an immigration bill as well as the high number of deportations under his administration. Around 1.4 million undocumented immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration as of July, the vast majority being Latino. By comparison, the Bush administration deported 2 million over the course of eight years.
Obama said that he has directed the Department of Homeland Security to focus on deporting criminal immigrants who are in the country illegally and not otherwise-law abiding ones who have families here.
He also touted his "deferred action" program that made over 1 million young undocumented immigrants eligible for a two-year reprieve from potential deportation.
"I met young people all across the country, wonderful kids who sometimes were valedictorians, were participating in the community, had aspirations to go to college, some were serving in our military," he said. "There's no way you would think it was fair or just for us to have them suffering under a cloud of deportation."
But when pressed by Salinas whether the timing of that announcement in June was made for political reasons, Obama suggested it was not prompted by the looming election. "I was winning the Latino vote before we took that action," he said.
Obama campaign pits president vs. Romney on LGBT rights
President Barack Obama's recent decision to support same-sex marriage was the lead selling point against Mitt Romney in the president's campaign announcement Wednesday of a new drive to court the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community.
"The choice we're facing as a country and a community could not be clearer," said Joe Solmonese, a national campaign co-chair and president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). "We could re-elect a leader who's working with our community toward full equality under the law, or we could sit back and watch Mitt Romney take us back to where we started."
His comments came on a conference call with reporters to discuss the rollout of a grassroots initiative titled, "Obama Pride: LGBT Americans for Obama."
Along with phone banks, trainings and house parties to reach voters, the campaign's plan may also target gay Republicans.
"That will be a big focus of ours," Solmonese said, adding that he was speaking on behalf of the HRC at that point.
While the campaign did not lay out specific goals in urging gay GOP voters to cross over to the Democratic column, they stressed the importance of engaging the voting bloc now in the event Romney, who supports a federal marriage amendment, wins the election.
"The federal marriage amendment is the ultimate deal breaker for us. It is the enshrining of discrimination into the U.S. Constitution," Solmonese said. "It is important to make sure every member of this community - Republicans in particular - understand that distinction."
The campaign warned that Romney would be the most damaging president for LGBT rights, pointing to his call for a federal amendment, which would define marriage between a man and a woman, and his support for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
"Out there among our opponents, the fear of the progress we are making with regard to our success in marriage equality is genuine and it is palpable," Solmonese said. "So the fight to get that done (pass the amendment), I think, is absolutely real, if he were president."
While Romney has supported the right for same-sex couples to adopt, he has said he would leave any laws involving domestic partnership benefits and hospital visitation rights up to the states.
Political analysts say Obama regained some lost fanfare among his liberal base when he made his announcement in favor of marriage equality earlier this month.
Previously, the president had been murky on his personal view over the issue, saying he was simply "evolving" on the issue after having once opposed it, which left many in the LGBT community displeased.
While he satisfied many on the left by taking a firm stand on same-sex marriage, certain groups –including some black evangelicals and so-called Reagan Democrats - expressed dismay over his decision.
On the conference call Wednesday, however, campaign officials said they were confident the move would not have severe political implications for the president and stressed recent polls that show marriage equality as a less-than-heavy issue on voters' minds this election.
"This election, like all elections, from this point until November is going to be like a roller coaster ride," Solmonese said. "The president did what he thought the right thing to do was and we'll move forward from there."
Bill Maher And Conan O’Brien Imagine Obama In Short-Shorts, Gang Leader Romney
Conan O’Brien must have been fairly happy last night that he had the freedom TBS gives, because Bill Maher certainly made the most of it. Joking that coming to the show “felt like a real job” because he had to wake up before 2 PM to make it, Maher somehow ran the gamut from gay marriage to President Obama in short-shorts to bullying and child molestation. It was a fairly packed interview. READ MORE
Obama 'the first gay president'
The magazine hit newsstands on Monday featuring a cover image of the president with a rainbow-colored halo above his head. Below in block letters, it dubs him "the first gay president."
The cover story, written by political blogger Andrew Sullivan, tracks the transformation of Obama from a leader who thought "civil unions are the way to go" in 2007 to a president who now believes "same-sex couples should be able to get married," as he said in an interview with ABC last Wednesday.
Sullivan, who is openly gay, wrote about how Obama's own experience as a biracial man may have played a part in eventually understanding the "predicament" of the gay community.
"I have always sensed that he intuitively understands gays and our predicament—because it so mirrors his own," Sullivan wrote. "And he knows how the love and sacrifice of marriage can heal, integrate, and rebuild a soul."
Sullivan also mentioned the politics involved in the president's transformation:
"If money was one factor making the move necessary, the youth vote—essential to his demographic coalition and overwhelmingly pro–marriage equality—clinched the logic of it," Sullivan wrote. "The under-30s were looking worryingly apathetic, especially compared with 2008. This would fire them back up."
White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that he hadn't spoken to the President about the Newsweek cover.
The issue hit newsstands just four days after TIME Magazine printed a cover depicting a 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son for a story on attachment parenting. The provocative image apparently stirred up a rivalry between the two publications -- according to the New York Post, Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown saw the breastfeeding cover and said, "Let the games begin."
"If President Clinton was the ‘first black president’ then Obama earns every stripe in that ‘gaylo’ with last week’s gay marriage proclamation. Newsweek’s cover pays tribute to his newly ordained place in history," Brown told Politico, referencing a famous quote by novelist Toni Morrison regarding Clinton.
Magazine expert and University of Mississippi professor Samir Husni told The Los Angeles Timesthat while he applauded TIME's cover for being "edgy and provocative," he disapproved of Newsweek's choice because it used visual gimmicks to make a point. He added that he wished the news magazine would stick to facts and reality.
This week's New Yorker also led with a story about the President's support of gay marriage. On its cover, it published an image of the White House with rainbow pillars.
A new USA Today/ Gallup Poll shows that 51 percent of Americans now support Obama's stance on gay marriage, though 60 percent say that the president's shift in position will not affect how they vote in the upcoming election.
Obama clarified position! "I SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE"
The president has been under intense pressure for his self-described “evolving” position on the issue since Sunday, when NBC aired an interview in which Vice President Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage.
Biden’s comments put Obama on the spot, exposing the president’s position to ridicule among gay-rights activists who see it as a wink-and-nod stance to avoid alienating conservative swing voters as well as African-Americans and Latinos key to Obama’s reelection.
The president’s challenge was evident in Tuesday’s vote in North Carolina, one of the campaign’s targeted states, where voters overwhelmingly backed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.
Obama’s campaign released a statement describing the North Carolina results as “disappointing.”
Aides to the president would not say what Obama might tell Roberts today about the issue of marriage.
His evolving views have moved in both directions over time. As a state senate candidate, he once endorsed gay marriage on a questionnaire, then as a presidential candidate he opposed gay marriage. As president, he has pursued a largely pro-gay rights agenda, repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and declining to argue in court for the Defense of Marriage Act.
“My feelings about this are constantly evolving,” he said in 2010. “I struggle with this. I have friends, I have people who work for me who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And they are extraordinary people. And this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about.”
But gay supporters grew angry Sunday after Obama aides tried to tamp down excitement over Biden’s comments and dismiss any suggestion that the vice president’s views differed from those of the president.
At least one in six Obama bundlers are gay, according to a Washington Post count, making it hard for the president to ignore the growing frustrations.
On Sunday, U.S. vice-president Joe Biden stopped just short of endorsing gay marriage on NBC’s Meet the Press
However, as he waded into one of the most divisive topics of the forthcoming US general election, Biden stopped short of giving full backing to gay marriage, revealing his own party’s confusion and uncertainty on the issue.
"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties," he said in a television interview.
His remarks came as the Obama administration continued to walk a political tightrope over same-sex marriages, with Barack Obama’s own position on the issue said by aides to be "evolving".
In a sign of how sensitive an issue it is for Obama’s campaign strategists, gay rights groups initially took Biden’s words on NBC’s Meet the Press as a significant step towards full endorsement, only for senior Obama aides to say the position remained unchanged.
David Axelrod, the campaign’s chief strategist, said on Twitter that Mr Biden merely "precisely" stated Mr Obama’s position "that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights."
A Biden aide added further clarification in a statement to the Politico website, saying: "The Vice-President was saying what the president has said previously — that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights.
"Beyond that, the Vice-President was expressing that he, too, is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country."
Even though he stopped short of endorsing gay marriage, Mr Biden said he believed attitudes in the U.S. were changing, crediting the television sitcom Will & Grace — whose lead character was a gay lawyer in New York — for breaking down prejudice.
However liberal groups chided the administration for continuing to fail to take a clear position on the issue. "The campaign shouldn’t force Biden’s comments back into the closet, but should instead embrace the growing popular support for the freedom to marry," said Winnie Stachelberg of the liberal Center for American Progress.
The Obama administration, which has major donors among the gay and lesbian lobby groups, has equivocated on gay marriage to avoid alienating socially conservative and religious voters who say it undermines traditional notions of the family and infringes religious freedoms.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential challenger, has also tried to stay out of the debate, but last week his openly gay national security spokesman, Richard Grenell, resigned, saying his position had become untenable because of the "hyper-partisan" discussions on the issue.
In a wide-ranging interview, Biden also revealed the election campaign’s worst-kept secret, that he will be running alongside Obama in the autumn. He also disagreed with the assessment of Osama bin Laden, revealed this week in newly published documents, that the US would be plunged into crisis if an "utterly unprepared" Biden became president after a successful assassination attempt on Mr Obama.
Mr Biden, who did not rule out running for president in 2016, countered by saying that bin Laden had been wrong about a lot of things.
First Amendment No Longer Obama's First Priority
Religious liberty, however, makes almost none of the lists, but it should. It is like the air that we breathe — taken for granted, but vital for each one of us.
The First Amendment to the Constitution states, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Yet over the last year or so, the Obama administration has been telling us that the First Amendment is no longer its first priority. What is? We get some important clues by examining not what it says, but what it does. And according to a timeline of events over the last year just posted by Christianity Today, while there have been a couple of minor gains for religious liberty, overall the Obama administration appears to be pitting the free exercise of religion against sexual liberty — to the detriment of religious freedom.
The current push for sexual liberty over religious liberty can be divided into two main categories. The first is so-called gay rights, seen in everything from the redefinition of marriage to the rights of religious organizations to set moral boundaries in hiring decisions. The second is the attempt to force religious organizations to subsidize people’s sexual choices — choices with which they have profound moral disagreement.
This contest between “liberties” is playing out in the context of administration attempts to narrow the definition of who is included under the umbrella of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion. In other words, it appears to be saying to a surprising number of faith-based organizations, we believe in the First Amendment — but not for you.
In a significant rebuff to the administration, in January the Supreme Court ruled in Hosanna-Tabor vs. EEOC that religious organizations are exempt from employment antidiscrimination laws. The high court noted dryly, “We cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization's freedom to select its own ministers.” Yet this is precisely what the administration sought. President Obama, to his credit, said last July that he has no plans to change an executive order allowing some religious groups to discriminate in hiring for religious reasons.
Other events in the timeline, however, bring less good news. Regarding gay rights, in February 2011, the administration announced that it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, duly passed by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton, in the courts, though it is the Executive Branch’s responsibility to do this. DOMA defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman. “The move stemmed from the administration’s decision that sexual orientation should be protected by the highest legal scrutiny afforded by the 14th Amendment,” CT reports. “Many observers believe such an inclusion would allow the government to invoke a ‘compelling government interest’ in forbidding faith-based organizations from considering some sexual ethics questions in employment decisions.”
And indeed, this past October, the U.S. Agency for International Development began using new language in its requirements of organizations that receive federal money to perform humanitarian work overseas. USAID now says that it “strongly encourages” grant applicants to adopt its hiring policy of not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Several groups, including World Vision, sought language protecting their religious convictions in hiring but were turned down.
2012 Obama vs Romney: The Illusion of Choice
Come November, the American people will be faced with two distinct options, reelect President Barack Obama or vote for Mitt Romney. The liberal Democrat and the Republican conservative seem to stand in stark contrast. They come from different backgrounds and have different views on most social issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, immigration.
On the surface, Romney and Obama appear to be conflicting in ideas and ideals on all fronts. The popular perception is that Romney and Obama represent polices that are polar opposites of each other.
But this perception is absolutely false.
In reality, when it comes to the most critical issues effecting America today like national debt, bank and corporatebailouts, monetary policy, foreign policy, military, civil liberties, Constitution, etc., the range of difference in their policies spans from non-existent to marginal.
Media wants you to think that this election is about abortion and gay marriage.
How Important is the Gay and Lesbian Vote for the Upcoming Election?
"This didn't happen in Nashville."
That's what I told our cameraman last month when he filmed the gay pride flag-raising ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. We were producing a PBS NewsHour segment on the political reaction to President Obama's decision to endorse same-sex marriage.
I used to cover politics in Nashville, and I consider Music City a liberal, generally open-minded Southern town. But gay political activism was rarely in the news there, and I can't imagine any mayor in any Tennessee city raising a Pride flag over town hall; Nashville, despite its progressivism, is still in the Bible Belt (the main gay strip in Nashville is on Church Street). There would likely be immediate protests from religious and conservative groups.
I've been in the Bay Area less than a year, so the uneventful flag-raising in San Francisco was a new experience for me. But every June here, the mayor and most other local political heavyweights attend the annual Alice Pride Breakfast, helping raise money for one of the city's two major LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Democratic political clubs. And several key California Obama campaigners attended this year's breakfast.
But is the gay political scene in San Francisco still an exception, and will the gay vote in America really matter in the presidential election? The Obama campaign seems to think so: there's an "Obama Pride" website devoted to the LGBT community; first lady Michelle Obama recently held a conference call with gay activists encouraging them to hold "Pride" house parties; the campaign has a staff dedicated to getting out the LGBT vote; and the campaign is raising funds from this community.
It's estimated that only about 4 percent of the American population identifies as LGBT, and in national elections they usually vote Democratic. So I asked Patrick Egan, a professor of political science at New York University, and Kenneth Sherrill, a professor of political science at Hunter College at the City University of New York: Does the gay vote really matter? Can the Democrats not take the LGBT vote for granted? And why does the Obama campaign find it important to reach out so meaningfully to the gay community this year?
In 2008, Egan and Sherrill co-authored a paper on LGBT civic engagement, finding that gays and lesbians tend to be more active civically and politically than other Americans. Sherrill says this matters in states like North Carolina and Virginia, where Obama won narrowly in 2008.
Sherrill said the gay vote made the margin of victory in North Carolina that year and said it could again this November: "This is a group of reliable voters who turn out to vote more than most people do, who appear to be registered to vote more than most people are and who are one of the handful of most Democratic groups in the electorate."
Egan, however, cautioned that the LGBT population is still just a small percentage of the American whole and said he didn't think the gay vote is "more important this election" than it's been in the past. The Obama effort to attract the LGBT vote, Egan said, is "a reflection of both campaigns trying to eke out any advantage they can from any voting blocks in the electorate. If the Democrats can get gay people to vote on the basis of which party is offering more policies that promote gay rights, the choice is quite clear."
Thanks to new marketing technologies, Egan said both parties, Republican and Democratic, are more often targeting segments of the population with tailored campaign messages: "Republicans do that with evangelical Christians, and Democrats do that with gay voters and other constituent groups." Another reason might be that with tiny electoral margins, any advantage could win an election.
And according to Sherrill, the gay community may be particularly motivated to vote this fall: "Nobody else has the right to get married on the ballot."
Obama's Gay Marriage Contradiction
Obama's inconsistency is illustrated by two cases involving gay marriage that the Supreme Court could hear during its next term. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit overturned a law that prohibits federal recognition of state-licensed gay marriages, and last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined to reconsider a case in which it ruled against California's ban on gay marriage.
The 1st Circuit case involves Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which the Obama administration stopped defending last year after concluding it is unconstitutional. During the same May 9 ABC News interview in which he declared that "same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said DOMA "tried to federalize what has historically been state law."
But Obama does not argue that DOMA violates the 10th Amendment by impermissibly intruding on a power that the Constitution reserves to the states. Instead he says the law violates the guarantee of equal protection implicit in the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause.
As Attorney General Eric Holder explained in a February 2011 letter, "the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny" under the Due Process Clause and that DOMA's distinction between heterosexual and homosexual couples fails that test. If so, it is hard to see how the same distinction at the state level could pass muster under the 14th Amendment, which says "no state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
"If you believe the matter should be left to the states," Stanford law professor Michael McConnell recently told The Washington Post, "that means you think the Constitution permits the states to take a different view. I don't see how that can be squared with Attorney General Holder's claim."
In fact, Holder and Obama implicitly have staked out a stronger position against state bans on gay marriage than the 9th Circuit did. Under the heightened scrutiny favored by Obama, the government must show that a legal distinction based on sexual orientation is "substantially related to an important government objective."
The 9th Circuit, by contrast, applied the "rational basis" test, the standard typically used in equal protection cases that do not involve a fundamental right or a "suspect class" such as race. Under that standard, the government need only show that the challenged law "bears a rational relation to a legitimate end."
The appeals court concluded that Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to reverse a California Supreme Court decision allowing gay couples to marry, failed even this highly deferential test because it did not accomplish anything that was plausibly related to its ostensible goals. Under California's "domestic partnership" law, gay couples retain the same rights as straight couples, except for the right to call their relationship a marriage. Since Proposition 8's sole effect was to remove that label, the court reasoned, its only justification was to mark gay marriages as morally inferior—an illegitimate end under the Equal Protection Clause.
This analysis is unlikely to apply elsewhere because California's combination of a strong domestic partnership law with a constitutional amendment rescinding gay marriage rights is unusual, if not unique. But many other states' gay marriage bans could be vulnerable under the heightened scrutiny that Obama applied to DOMA.
Obama may wish to avoid the implications of his constitutional logic until after the presidential election. But if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the California case this fall and asks the solicitor general to weigh in, that may not be possible.
Romney, who bullied a gay kid in prep school, abolished anti-bullying commission as governor
Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether.
“We remember well what Romney tried to do as governor of Massachusetts and we now we have more info on some of his own attitudes that may have led to his policy actions,” Eliza Byard, executive director of LGBT anti-bullying organization GLSEN, told TPM, drawing a connection with reports that Romney cornered a youth in high school and cut his hair. “If he’s willing to dismiss that incident as ‘hijinks,’ I could understand that he wouldn’t understand at all why this program was so critical.”
Rudy Giuliani: Obama's changes on same-sex marriage takes Romney's reversals "out of the election"
The 2008 Republican presidential candidate made the comment a day after Mr. Obama affirmed his support of same-sex marriage in a nationally televised interview days after Vice President Joe Biden voiced his support for same-sex marriage.
Giuliani told Erica Hill and Charlie Rose that Mr. Obama's statement Wednesday to ABC News directly conflicts with his position in 2008 that he defined marriage as between a man and a woman, which was then a reversal from his support in 1996 for legalizing same-sex marriage.
"It's going to be very hard for the president to say, 'Oh my goodness, you know, Mitt Romney changed his position on pro-choice, pro-life,' whereas he's changed his position now dramatically on, on gay rights going back over a 10-year period, so maybe in this sense it helps Romney because it takes that issue out of the election," said Giuliani. "[It] can be hard for Obama to criticize him for being a shifter on positions when this is a major shift."
Giuliani doubted Romney would shift from making the election about the economy to focusing on same-sex marriage.
"This is not something he's going to make a big issue out of, and he shouldn't," said Giuliani. "I think it's going to work for or against the president on its own. Republicans should stay the heck out of it."
While polls show that the nation is evenly split on same-sex marriage -- a recent Gallup Poll showed that 50 percent approved legalization and 48 percent disapproved -- Giuliani said the president might pay politically for his comments in swing states.
"The country's even, but the real issue is where is the country in the 10 states to decide this election," said Giuliani. "He's going to go to California tonight. Big hero with the Hollywood crowd doing this. Doesn't matter. He's going to win California. Texas, gonna be against it. Doesn't matter. However, how does it play in Ohio? How does it play in Wisconsin? How does it play in North Carolina? How does it play in Virginia? It plays against him."
Arne Duncan Supports Gay Marriage
Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Duncan was asked by Time's Mark Halperin whether he believed it should be legal for same-sex couples to get married in the United States.
"Yes, I do," said Duncan.
When asked if he had said it publicly before, he replied that he thought that he had never been asked.
Duncan is the second cabinet secretary to publicly support same-sex marriage, with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan saying last November that he "absolutely" supports it.
Biden said Sunday that he is "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage, but added that the president sets the policy. His comments appeared to diverge from those made by President Barack Obama, who has said that he is still "evolving" on the issue.
LGBT groups quickly praised Biden, but the Obama campaign walked back his comments, with a spokesperson for the vice president saying, "The vice president was saying what the president has said previously -- that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights. ... Beyond that, the vice president was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country."
"Rolling Stone" :What exactly was the punchline when President Obama kidded during an interview?
What exactly was the punchline when President Obama kidded during aninterview released today with Rolling Stone that a pair of pink socks might have to wait to be worn until his second term?
Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner wrote that, "The president even made light of his campaign-season caution. Having complimented me during our last interview on my brightly colored socks, he instantly guessed the gift we had brought him: two pairs of socks, one salmon with pink squares, the other with black and pink stripes. 'These are nice,' the president said. Then he considered the color scheme. 'These may be second-term socks.'"
Fairly or unfairly, a lot has been made of presidential candidates' reactions to the color pink. Mitt Romney was caught on camera joking that he wouldn't dare be seen wearing a pink tie. Rick Santorum was criticized for telling a boy not to use a pink bowling ball.
In this case, "second-term socks" could just be too loudly patterned a fashion choice for someone who wants to appeal to a wide swath of voters.
Romney has regularly suggested that Obama has a secret set of plans for his second-term that he won't explain before the election. And the president has not supported marriage equality, saying he is "evolving" on the issue. Many have hopefully speculated he would change his mind if given a second term.
“He does not want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press,” Romney said in a speech earlier this month.
Wenner asked the president during the interview why he has "shied away from demanding marriage equality for all."
"Are you at least willing to say that you support it on a personal level?" Wenner asked.
But Obama quickly dodged and redirected to his record of accomplishments for the LGBT community.
"I'm not going to make news in this publication," he said. "I've made clear that the issue of fairness and justice and equality for the LGBT community is very important to me. And I haven't just talked about it, I've acted on it."
The president used his game plan on repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" as an example of how he acts on LGBT issues.
"You'll recall that the last time you and I had an interview, we were getting beat up about 'don't ask, don't tell' in the LGBT community," he told Wenner. "There was skepticism: 'Why's it taking so long? Why doesn't he just do it through executive order?' I described very specifically the process we were going to go through to make sure that there was a buy-in from the military, up and down the chain of command, so that it would be executed in an effective way. And lo and behold, here we are, and it got done."
Obama finished his answer with a recounting of some of his accomplishments.
"Ending 'don't ask, don't tell' has been the dog that didn't bark," he said. "You haven't read a single story about problems in our military as a consequence of the ending of the policy. So whether it's on that, or changing the AIDS travel ban, or hospital visitation rights, or a whole slew of regulations that have made sure that federal workers are treated fairly in the workplace, we've shown the commitment that I have to these issues. And we're going to keep on working in very practical ways to make sure that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are treated as what they are — full-fledged members of the American family."
Mitt Romney wanted gays and lesbians 'to serve openly and honestly' in military
BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski surfacesreminds us of a 1994 letter from W. Mitt Romney to the Log Cabin Republicans asking for their support in his U.S. Senate campaign:
So before he underwent his conservative conversion, Mitt Romney supported allowing gays and lesbians "to serve openly and honestly" in the military, he supported ENDA, he supported "full equality" (which sounds like the same thing as supporting same-sex marriage), and he promised to be even more progressive than Teddy Kennedy. I actually kind of like this Mitt Romney. Too bad the conservative Borg has swallowed him whole. Now we'll never know which Mitt Romney we can believe is real.
But one thing seems for sure, if President Obama is going to continue "evolving" on marriage equality, now would be a great time for him to let it be known. Sure, he'd be flip-flopping like Mitt Romney, but he'd be flip-flopping to the right position. And he'd be locking Mitt Romney into the wrong one.
10:54 AM PT: I hadn't seen the full text of this letter before today, but it turns out it's not newly surfaced as I initially wrote. Greg Sargent wrote about it last month and The New York Times wrote about it in 2006. Of course, none of that changes the remarkable transformation of Romney from a supporter of gay rights to an opponent.