Joe Biden might just go down in history as the guy who forced Barack Obama to publicly announce his private support for gay marriage.This issue might have been helpful to Obama had it come much later in the election cycle. But making this announcement in May pretty much negates it as a factor in the campaign. The gays will be all giggly and goose-pimply for a couple of days, but then it will be over. No policy has changed. In states where gay marriage is illegal it will still be illegal. Obama did nothing with his announcement except portray himself as an inept political operator upstaged by his idiot VP.
But the vice president is no hero in the West Wing, and administration officials are struggling to cast Obama’s truly historic announcement as something more than an election-year shotgun wedding.
Obama’s interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts capped a frenetic half-week of backstage political maneuvering after Biden said he was “comfortable” with gay marriage during a TV interview that was pre-taped Friday and aired Sunday. It followed the passage Tuesday of an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in North Carolina that illustrated the divisions in typically cohesive Obama constituencies, including women, Hispanics and blacks. And it exposed a few divisions in the Obama-Biden camp.
Senior administration officials admit that Biden’s comment was, indeed, the catalyst for Obama to make his historic announcement weeks earlier than planned.
But Biden’s remarks deeply annoyed Obama’s team, people close to the situation tell POLITICO, because it aggrandized his role at the expense of Obama’s yeoman efforts on behalf of the community and pushed up the timing of a sensitive announcement they had hoped to break — at a time and place of their own choosing — in the weeks leading up to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this fall.
Nor did it tickle anyone, from Obama on down, that Biden — who backed the Defense of Marriage Act while serving in the Senate in the 1990s — seemed to be getting more credit in the LGBT community than a president who has actually taken steps to repeal the Clinton-era law that defined marriage as something that could only take place between a man and a woman.
And it chafed Obama’s team that Biden had, at times, privately argued for the president to hold off on his support of marriage equality to avoid a backlash among Catholic voters in battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to two officials familiar with those discussions.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
And that makes the White House very angry: