After David Gregory of Meet the Press teased out Vice President Joe Biden's personal support for gay marriage, members of the press grew increasingly impatient with President Obama's own views on gay marriage.
A frustrated White House Press Corps yesterday ganged up on White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during the press briefing asking him at least 28 questions about the president's seemingly hypocritical stance on gay marriage, accusing him of wanting to have it both ways.
Here are their questions:
- 1) Does this box the President in ahead of the election? Have his views changed at all on this subject?
- 2) If asked at this point a similar question for his personal view, would the President give it?
- 3) Jay, the President has raised millions of dollars from LGBT donors, many of whom say that they believe in a second term the President will come out in support of gay marriage. So doesn't he owe them -- or owe voters in general -- his direct response and just stop dancing around the issue and telling voters will he or won’t he support gay marriage in a second term?
- 4) Jay, on June 23rd, he told an LGBT audience, “Everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit. I don't have to tell the people in this room we’ve got a ways to go in the struggle.” What is he referring to if not gay marriage?
- 5) You're trying to have it both ways before an election. The suggestion is that there is news there and you guys are just waiting for the proper time to drop it, likely after November.
- 6) But the question is, I think there are very few people who think that the President is not going to, after November, whether he's reelected or not, come out in favor of same-sex marriage. I think there are very few people on the President's campaign who doubt that; very few people who support the President, very few people who oppose the President who have any doubt that that is what is going to likely happen. And if that is the likely future of the President and this position, given that you don't have any news to drop on it where probably his mind has been made up, why not just come out and say it and let voters decide? It seems cynical to hide this until after the election.
- 7) Why does the President oppose same-sex marriage?
- 8) Is the President comfortable with the fact of men marrying men and women marrying women?
- 9) Biden -- the Vice President appears to have evolved on the issue, but the President is still evolving -- is that a fair characterization?
- 10) Let me ask you this. You have a number of Democratic governors throughout this country -- Governor O'Malley, Governor Cuomo, Governor Malloy, to name a view, now the Vice President, who all support same-sex marriage. Why doesn’t President Obama support same-sex marriage?
- 11) When you now say the Vice President is evolving -- he did not say that, as was pointed out, but he used some key words beyond what Norah just quoted. He also said that they are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. Does that mean he supports same-sex marriage?
- 12) Is it fair to say that publicly the President and the Vice President disagree on gay marriage?
- 13) When it came to the issue of marriage before, there was a time when the President was somebody who believed in deferring it to the states. Does he still feel that way?
- 14) So he opposes -- so help me out there. He opposes bans on gay marriage but he doesn’t yet support gay marriage?
- 15) There’s going to be an effort this summer to have support for gay marriage as part of the Democratic platform. Does the President believe it’s important that the platform reflects his views?
- 16) Just to get clear on your criteria, you said that you oppose state efforts to take away rights. In North Carolina gays can't marry now, so what is the reason to oppose North Carolina?
- 17) Okay. My other question is, is marriage a civil liberty?
- 18) Well, in the White House view, is marriage a civil liberty?
- 19) But what would you say is the definition of "evolving"? You've said it so many times, it has to mean something specific.
- 20) Is he getting ready to change?
- 21) How could his views be crystal-clear if everybody in this room is needing to ask you questions?
- 22) Then why did you guys send out statements to clarify?
- 23) Jay, what do you think the word "evolving" means?
- 24) Is he unevolved?
- 25) All right, now I'm going to take the ball and run down the field with it real quick. And I want you to dissect the evolution.
- 26) Before we heard that it was -- he was having a hard time marrying issues of his faith and rights. Is that the evolution? Is that where the evolution issue is a holdup?
- 27) Jay, did the President know before yesterday, did the President know that the Vice President was comfortable with men marrying men? Is this something they’ve discussed?
- 28) Thanks, Jay. Is it still accurate to say, then, that President Obama is opposed to gay marriage?
Needless to say, Carney answered each question with a variation of President Obama's complex position, repeating that he had no news to break on the issue.
"It is what it was." he said. "The President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples," but "considers marriage to be a state issue and the states have the right to take action on it" and "his views on this were evolving."