Barack Obama | Bill clinton | Democratic Party | Gavin Newsom | Gay Marriage | Hillary Clinton | News | San Francisco | Willie Brown

Obama's Alleged Snub of 'Gay Marriage Mayor' Newsom Resurfaces

Gavin Newsom appeared at a "town hall" event on Monday night in San Francisco with Bill Clinton, and today primary eve comments on the Clinton-Newsom relationship (or rather the chill between Newsom and Barack Obama) by former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown have irked gay Obama supporters.

NewsomBrown reminded the SF Chronicle of a fundraiser he held for Obama at which Newsom was present, shortly after Newsom's controversial decision to allow the city to begin issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples. Said Brown to the Chronicle: "I gave a fundraiser, at his (Obama's) request at the Waterfront restaurant. And he said to me, he would really appreciate it if he didn't get his photo taken with my mayor. He said he would really not like to have his picture taken with Gavin."

Williebrown_2The Chronicle adds: "'I think he has harbored this resentment for years,' Brown said of Newsom, adding that Obama was reluctant to be seen appearing in San Francisco altogether, much less side by side with the gay-marriage mayor. 'I would guess that is part of the rejection of the Obama campaign.' Though same-sex marriage is still a hot-button issue in 2008, it is no longer the shocker that had the country in an uproar four and five years ago. Until you go back and look at the news stories from those days, it is easy to forget how radical and unpopular Newsom's stand was. And, no, it wasn't just the right-wingers who were upset. It was Democrats, too, particularly those running in the presidential primary. John Kerry, for example, was careful to stage his Bay Area appearances in Oakland, not San Francisco, after the controversy hit. 'I don't know anybody in the party who was happy with him, except me,' Brown said. 'He was all alone out there. He was the poster child for same-sex marriage worldwide.' That's why Brown says he doesn't blame Obama for his caution. Today, of course, the Illinois senator is happy to embrace gay causes. But in 2004, nationally, same-sex marriage was a radical notion. 'What they ought to say is, 'Damn right I did it, and I'd do it again,'' Brown said of the Obama camp. 'He was in a race for the Senate, and I am guessing that downstate Illinois is a pretty red (meaning conservative) group of voters.'"

Obama supporters, like his gay deputy campaign director, Steve Hildebrand, call it "a ridiculous story." Said Hildebrand: "Barack Obama gets his picture taken with gay people all the time. Including me, his deputy campaign manager. They could attack Obama for a lot of things, but this isn't one of them. And for this to pop up on the eve of the election is very suspicious. There's just no truth to it."

Obama snub still rankles Newsom [sf chronicle]
Best Served Cold [politico]

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  1. Andy, I love the end of the politico story. "Fumes a high-level Obama backer: "He is never going to serve in our administration, and we may give San Francisco to Canada." LOL. Bitchy!

    Posted by: Tanner | Feb 5, 2008 11:46:27 AM

  2. You know what's worth losing a general election that will decide the future of the country? Having your picture taken with cheats-on-his-wife pretend gay marriage mayor.

    Posted by: Adam | Feb 5, 2008 11:53:29 AM

  3. Hey JOHN,

    Do you remember when, yesterday, in the thread here on towleroad about Clinton and Obama courting the gay vote, you attacked me for 'smearing' Barack Obama? I left a comment saying that one of my best friends, a Barack Obama supporter, works closely with Mayor Newsom and that she told me Barack Obama was the presidential candidate who refused to be photographed with Newsom. You basically called it a lie and accused me of rumor mongering. And yet here it is on towleroad...but this time the person relating the story is none other than former Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown. Do you still think I'm smearing Obama, JOHN? And don't you think you owe me an apology?


    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 5, 2008 11:54:34 AM

  4. Please stop peddling these inane stories. My partner and I work for Obama and both he and his wife have embraced us from the start.... Please consider the source(s) before printing.... Clinton smears from all sides.... She (and her surrogates) will say anything and change nothing.

    Posted by: Rufus Gifford | Feb 5, 2008 11:56:22 AM

  5. Are there really still queens out there who are basing their Democratic primary vote on which candidate they think is more gay friendly?

    Posted by: 24play | Feb 5, 2008 12:02:57 PM

  6. That's all well and good Rufus, but it's the public face he shows that counts, and if he wouldn't want his pic taken with the gaymarriage mayor, that says alot.

    Posted by: secretagentman | Feb 5, 2008 12:10:37 PM

  7. Rufus, you are no doubt working for FREE. They will take anything and everything they can get. That is not an argument. Obama is a good orator, with no plan specifics. He is a junior freshman. We MUST have experience in the White House. Your efforts are for naught. If he manages to snag the nomination, he will never be win the general election. Never in this lifetime. Sorry you have wasted your time.

    Posted by: Bobby | Feb 5, 2008 12:16:28 PM

  8. This alone is not such a big deal, but add it to Kirbyjon Caldwell and Donnie McClurkin and a real pattern emerges. I'm convinced that Hillary would be better for us.

    Posted by: sam | Feb 5, 2008 12:18:08 PM

  9. This is another reason why I am not regreting my vote for Clinton this morning. I am still a very entusiastic supporter of John Edwards, but with him out of the picture, I felt that Clinton, in spite of all her corporatist baggage, would be a better president.

    Having said that I'd be more than happy to have either one as the Dem nominee and president.

    As a slight aside, the fact that my bitchy sister-in-law doesn't like Clinton made it also that much easier to vote for her.

    Posted by: Will | Feb 5, 2008 12:25:31 PM

  10. It's time to think up strategies to fight Grandpa McCain and the Republicans. This Democratic Primary struggle is like a bunch of ice cream addicts who can decide between vanilla or chocolate. Shut up! It'll be either Clinton or Obama or both. Obama is something new and fresh and full of idealistic promise. Hillary is tougher than any male Democrat in fighting right-wing bastards (that includes Big Cigar Bill). I can vote for either one. Those of you who are passionate about either one...well, y'all bore the poop out of me--which doesn't do me any good 'cause nowadays there's no handsome trade to take advantage of this cleanly condition.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 5, 2008 12:26:24 PM

  11. Man, those new pop up ads here are nasty!

    Posted by: protogenes | Feb 5, 2008 12:30:41 PM

  12. Sorry, I'm not buying it. The close polls must have Hillary panicking, releasing these dubious stories like so many spores... I'll be voting for Obama today.

    Posted by: Kelvin | Feb 5, 2008 12:34:26 PM

  13. I'm not sold with Obama. I will not vote on who's more liberal about gay issues. I'm voting for someone with the experience to handle the job.

    Posted by: Bud | Feb 5, 2008 12:34:53 PM

  14. I'm not working for free and haven't been for a year. This story is COMPLETE bunk spread by a Hillary Clinton supporter who has been vocal in his opposition to Obama. The Clintons are nervous - as they should be - and are sending their minions out to do their dirty work....

    Posted by: Rufus Gifford | Feb 5, 2008 12:45:07 PM

  15. Of course Obama likes us. Especially if we give him money. But he also likes 'phobes.
    Go figure.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 5, 2008 12:46:08 PM

  16. Last minute hit piece by Newsom who supports La Hillary. The Clinton campaign is genuinely afraid. Funny how Gav doesn't mention that many in the demo party criticized him after the marriages including Pelosi and Feinstein.

    Posted by: Lito S | Feb 5, 2008 12:46:32 PM

  17. This is ridiculous. The article states that most of the Democratic establishment was embarrassed of Gavin's defiance of the law and didn't want to be associated with him at the time. John Kerry didn't even want to be seen in SF at the time, but I'm sure that didn't stop you queens from voting for him. You never saw Hillary supporting Gavin's decision at the time, but where's the hit piece on that?

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 5, 2008 1:40:02 PM

  18. Isn't Feinstein a Republican in Democrat clothing?

    Posted by: RJ | Feb 5, 2008 1:40:15 PM

  19. Let me preface this with a disclosure that I am an Obama supporter, however I have to say that Rufus' and Obama's staffer Hildebrand's statement that "this couldn't be true because Obama likes me and has had his picture taken with me" is so full of blatant, disgusting STRAW MAN rhetorical strategy that it makes my skin crawl.

    These gentlemen know full well that this story is NOT about Obama refusing to be seen or photographed with the average gay man.

    Instead of addressing the claim that was made by the former Mayor (WHO ARRANGED AS WAS ACTUALLY AT THE EVENT) they misrepresent what the claim was and then proceed to debunk the misrepresented claim. Straw man 101!

    The issue was that Obama was not willing to be seen with or photographed with NEWSOME, not that he was unwilling to be photographed with a gay person. NEWSFLASH: Newsome isn't gay! The claim is that Obama didn't want to be seen or photographed with Newsome because he didn't want to be associated with Newsome's unpopular (among Republicans AND Democrats) and very publicly demonstrated support for marriage equality.

    There may very well have been a politically expedient reason for Barack to make such a decision in the homophobic atmosphere that followed the MA ruling and the San Francisco marriages. I'm sure he was advised by his staff (including gay staff) to avoid such associations, especially on film. That sucks but it sucks even more to play revisionist and straw man delusionist in order to act as if it didn't, or couldn't have, happened.

    I swear to god I'm getting COMPLETELY DISGUSTED by the revisionism and outright lies being spun by BOTH of the Democratic candidates. In style and strategy they and their supporters are becoming more and more like Republicans every single day.

    Posted by: ZEKE | Feb 5, 2008 2:28:06 PM

  20. whether obama or hillary, just vote...

    Posted by: the queen | Feb 5, 2008 2:28:34 PM

  21. You know what guys, the joke will be on all the "I hate Hillary" and "I hate Obama" people when it finally comes out that a Repugnican surrogate did all of the smearing a lie-telling all along to divide us!

    We have to remember that EITHER ONE of these two candidates is a very viable choice and we need to stop firing shots that the GOP can pick up on later and hurt our Democratic nominee with! Seethe on your own if you have to but stop the public bickering! Jeez, enough already.

    You got out to vote? GOOD. You don't have to bash anyone else with YOUR choice!

    Posted by: CK | Feb 5, 2008 2:35:49 PM

  22. Interesting. FYI, Hillary Clinton was key in passing Gay Marriage in Massachusetts by having her campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe, calling legislators to sway their votes.

    Posted by: Charlotte | Feb 5, 2008 2:39:31 PM

  23. Interesting. FYI, Hillary Clinton was key in passing Gay Marriage in Massachusetts by having her campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe, calling legislators to sway their votes.

    Posted by: Charlotte | Feb 5, 2008 2:40:16 PM

  24. It amuses to see a group of gay partisans jumping all over themselves to come out against advocacy for same-sex marriage.

    If what Newsom did in 2004 was so abhorrent and terrible, why didn't you queens join those thousands of Christian and Muslim protestors in front of San Francisco's City Hall four years ago?

    Because the rally wasn't led by the Democratic reincarnation of Jesus?

    Posted by: John | Feb 5, 2008 2:48:26 PM

  25. However, Hildebrand is not, as I would wager even as close to as well known as Gavin Newsom. Thus being photographed with any random gay Tom, Dick or Harry isnt going to impact you as someone who is associated with using their power and position to bring about positive change in opposition of conservatives. Considering we homosexuals arent identified like star bellied sneeches, Im glad he thinks he is soo obviously gay.

    Posted by: Toto | Feb 5, 2008 2:55:29 PM

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