ONTD Political

Biden Apologized to Obama for Jumping the Gun on Gay Marriage

4:02 pm - 05/11/2012
AP source: Biden apologizes to Obama over comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shortly before President Barack Obama voiced his support for gay marriage, Vice President Joe Biden apologized to the president for comments that led him to speed up his public pronouncement.

Biden and Obama spoke in the Oval Office on Wednesday, a person familiar with the exchange said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talk. Obama accepted his vice president's apology, saying he knew Biden was speaking from his heart when he declared in a television interview that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples marrying.

Biden's comments pushed gay marriage to the forefront of the presidential race and focused a fresh spotlight on Obama's vague position on the matter. The president, who once opposed gay marriage, had been saying for more than a year that his personal views were "evolving."

The vice president spoke out on gay marriage without White House consent, leaving Obama aides deeply frustrated.

In an interview with ABC News, Obama said he wasn't angry at Biden, though he thought the vice president had gotten "a little bit over his skis" by voicing his support for gay marriage ahead of his boss.

"Would I have preferred to have done this in my own way, in my own terms, without I think, there being a lot of notice to everybody? Sure," Obama said. "But all's well that ends well."

By the time Biden's interview on NBC's "Meet The Press" aired on Sunday morning, a handful of close Obama aides knew that the president had already finished that evolution. He had decided to speak publicly about his personal support for gay marriage sometime before the Democratic convention in early September.

The White House and Obama's presidential campaign at first tried to play down Biden's remarks, insisting that the vice president had gone no further in support of equal rights for same-sex couples. But gay rights advocates latched onto Biden's remarks, declaring him the highest-ranking U.S. official to support gay marriage.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a longtime friend of the president, stirred the political pot further on Monday, declaring unequivocally that he also supported gay marriage.

By Tuesday morning, the president came to the conclusion that he couldn't stay silent on the issue any further. The White House hastily arranged a television interview with ABC News for Wednesday, during which Obama explained to the public that he had decided it was important for him to "affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."


Submitting this since we've all been theorizing quite a lot on the circumstances of Biden's remarks and whether or not they were a "trial balloon" for Obama's endorsement. Also, Duncan's part in this has pretty much gone unremarked.
poetic_pixie_13 12th-May-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
I read somewhere that Obama was going to wait until the DNC to announce his support. Apparently he claims he was going to announce it at some point before the DNC. IDK if this is true, but I can see Obama waiting for some bigger moment than an interview to announce it. I realize that this kind of sounds like RPF but I think Joey B was just frustrated with what was happening with Amendment One and decided 'screw it' and forced Obama's hand. Biden is way too politically experienced to do that without realizing what would happen.

And, even with all this Obama still says he supports states rights on the issue. Which does the opposite of helping marriage equality. So, yes, he needs to stop doing that. In my head there is a glorious image of Obama during his second term pushing through legislation that creates marriage equality in all fifty states. I know it's foolish but I honestly hope that happens.

Edited at 2012-05-12 01:05 am (UTC)
romp 12th-May-2012 04:01 am (UTC)
I think this should play very well with under-30s, especially if it gets them to vote. And the "states rights" is there for the libertarians...and maybe anyone on the right who's on the fence. But saying those words doesn't make it happen or lock Obama or the Dems into following through with that.

I may be another bitter old queer but when it's all about getting votes, this sort of thing seems inevitable.
iolarah 12th-May-2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
It seems, too, that Biden has a track record of blurting his true feelings out when it's not necessarily the best timing, but you know what? In the end, I think so much more of Biden. Obama backed him up, probably because he had to say -something-, but Biden taking that risk is damn awesome. I respect that he's got the courage of his convictions...or at least happy he lacks a filter at times :P
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