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]


  1. Tanner says

    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!

  2. Adam says

    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.

  3. peterparker says

    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?


  4. Rufus Gifford says

    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.

  5. secretagentman says

    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.

  6. says

    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.

  7. Will says

    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.

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    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.

  9. Kelvin says

    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.

  10. Rufus Gifford says

    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….

  11. Lito S says

    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.

  12. Rob says

    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?

  13. ZEKE says

    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.

  14. CK says

    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!

  15. John says

    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?

  16. Toto says

    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.

  17. Rufus Gifford says

    Zeke, please…. We all know what this article is about and why the timing is so specific. The insinuation made by Willie Brown is the Barack Obama is no friend of gay people. Gay people live in San Francisco. Gay people vote for Democrats. Thus, San Francisco Gay Democrats are today choosing between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Of course no one should vote for Obama because he hired my partner and I, but the slant of the article suggested that gay people shouldn’t vote for Obama because he is uncomfortable with gay issues. I can assure you personally that this is not the case.

  18. Toto says

    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.

  19. ggreen says

    Willie Brown never does or says anything without lots of calculation. I’m not sure he would recognize truth if it walked up and introduced it self. After 8 years of Willie lining his pockets and those of his friends and hiring every relative of his going back generations San Francisco now gets to pay the piper and what a musician Willie was. The city bureaucracy is about to collapse under the weight of its own corruption.

  20. John says

    I think Brown was one of the greatest mayors that city ever had. And so what if he was corrupt. Richard Daley in Chicago is corrupt too (and still a great mayor who gets things done).

    Brown revitalized San Francisco by getting rid of the anti-growth hippie mentality. When he arrived, San Francisco was passe and decaying. He made it cool again.

    He was the impetus behind their new baseball stadium. He renovated their crumbling waterfront. He swept away the height restrictions, allowing for the first construction of new skycrapers in decades. He built a new international terminal, which is now recognized as one of the best airport atriums in the country.

  21. Derrick from Philly says

    Sounds like gentrification to me, John. But it aint my business. I just want to be able to rent someplace where I don’t have to worry about blood-thirsty gay-bashers. In Philly, we still have such places. Do y’all have affordable neighborhoods for moderate income middle-aged queens?… or did Mayor Brown say, “sorry, progress is too important…bye, bye lower middle-class bitches” Does San Francisco have any of the “unique quality” that made the city famous? New York doesn’t. Philly never had it. Listen to me–like I’ve been there. Maybe Frisco is one city where gentrification benefitted gay people, black people, artists, etc. You got to prove it to me.

    Back to Barack & Hillary. Next month we’ll have the Ohio Primary and the nomination will all be locked up. Then, what the hell y’all going to argue about? The Oscars?

  22. says

    I think this has everything to do with the Obama ’08 signs all over San Francisco. I have the impression that the whole of San Francisco (all 7 miles) is for Obama, with a few people for Hillary Clinton. Newsom is supporting Hillary Clinton, but it looks like the citizens of his city are supporting Obama.

    Willie Brown does not care about people he cares about the establishment. He has been that way since he sold out Shirley Chisolm back in the 1970s Democratic Convention.

  23. Michael Bedwell says

    Ain’t it ironic that a black man finally has his very own rainbow collection of “House and porch faggots” going, “Oh Massa is simply divoooon and luvs everyone of us! Girlfriend, the man has heart. Sorry I get veklimpt just thinking about him. Obama can hear me? Papa can you see me?”

    Stop the presses! You got your picture taken with him? He doesn’t spit on you [not literally anyway]? Well, Marys for Obama, do you remember that OTHER Mary as in Cheney? We got SOOO much out of her daddy’s love for her didn’t we! Ask the “Austin 12″ how all that worked out for them.

    READ the article suckas instead of immediately whipping out your hardons for your master as you always do the moment a hint of criticism comes his way! [Golden Rule: if the story is about Hillary—pillory! If it’s about Obama—obfuscate!]Newsom had NEVER confirmed that it was Obama until after Brown revealed it and, TRUST a San Franciscan, NO ONE tells Willie Brown what to do [he virtually endorsed Repuplican Arnold for reelection]—and, besides, he DEFENDED Obama’s hypocrisy er pragmatism.

    Newsom was being the gentleman not Obama the Great & Powerful Wizard of Oooze who was eager to have “the poster child for same-sex marriage worldwide” raise money for him but not be seen with him in a photo by, oh say maybe the voters in South Carolina, while Obama paid for a microphone and stage for Donnie McClurkin, “the poster boy for African-American ‘ex-gay’ ministries” according to black lesbian minister Irene Monroe,” there introducing him [via video] as one of his and Michelle’s favorite performers after which McClurkin used Obama’s literal platform to screech GOD DELIVERED ME FROM HOMOSEXUALITY! Obama pissed all over our legs and you’re still kissing his holiness’s ass, thanking him for the rain!

    Get your legs out of the air, fools! Your butts stink and the blood is running to your foolish heads. Thank our OTHER Lord & Savior Jessica Christ that you can’t get pregnant from being repeatedly smile fucked or there would be a lotta babies born across Gayland nine months from now looking like Rev. O. Finally—men birthing babies—behold the unceasing wonders of the Dali Obama!

    Next you’ll be telling us Obama never lied about his being responsible for a gay rights bill passing in Illinois! Next you’ll be trying to tell us that SOMEWHERE in his 64-page “Blueprint for Change” gays ARE actually mentioned, that we just can’t see the love for all the pages not mentioning us. Next you’ll tell us when he says “embrace gays” he actually means “get over your bigotry and stop voting for it! If you support me you’ll get out and support gay rights, too!” WAIT! You’ve already tried to sell us that that shit is Shinola!

    BTW: we know you think that life as we know it began the day Obama announced for President, but a couple of things happened before, e.g., not only did straight Dems like Newsom’s mentor Dianne Feinstein ream him a new one for his courage and example but Barney Frank trashed him and still does every chance he gets.

    The difference? Newsom has balls. Obama has bull.

  24. ggreen says

    Willie’s legacy is that SF is now for the very rich and the indigent with the indigent to be moved out at any time. Yuppies with kids (toddlers being the new Jack Russell Terrier) moved in to see what they could salvage/steal out of the city. Tax breaks for plasma televisions the next logical step. There is no middle class unless you consider three people sharing a one bedroom apartment middle class. BTW Clinton has LOTS of Support in SF and the Bay area.

  25. johnes says

    All the Hillary haters, let me pose a question to you.
    Name 3 things that Obama has accomplished (without looking it up on the internet or reading his hyped up resume on his website) that gives him the experience to be our President.
    I watched CNN yesterday for an hour, and 42 minutes of the hour was dedicated to Obama. The love affair with Obama is going to mess us up in November if he gets the nomination….why? because he has been given a free pass and not tested, and really has no experience.
    When it comes time for the election, the Republicans will hammer him… and guess who will be to blame?
    People need to wise up and vote for Hillary…she has taken attack after attack from the Republicans and keeps going strong.

    And it is my opinion that if she were President, she would be kickin’ ass and takin’ names on our behalf.


  26. Sebastian says

    As a SF resident, much ado about nothing, and, Wille Brown, mayor for the rich and corrupt should check himself, since he started the huge exdous of poor and middle class people from the City. I do have to admit, that I admire Andy for posting this as it is worth reading,and since most of the posters here are so hostile that any Obama thread gets lots of posts with typical rancor verging on hate about him. And, its funny, that one GW Bush has not set foot in SF for his entire two terms, which is bigger news to me.

    Gooooooo Obama!!

  27. sbs says

    Of course Obama supports gay people now. He wants to be President and four years have passed. This is the same Obama who said absolutely nothing about the ex-gay, black exploitation, gospel extravaganza in South Carolina; the same Obama who mentioned 23 different groups in his acceptance speech in South Carolina, but didn’t think to mention gays.

    Obama knows that black people will vote for him just because he is black. He is also very aware of the anti-gay prejudice that is rampant in black communities and in black churches.

  28. Elizabeth C. says

    As a fourth generation San Franciscan, I want to clear something up. Willie Brown did not cause the exodus of the middle class from San Francisco. Decades of outrageously high business taxes and the “tax the corporations” mentality of new arrivals FORCED the migration of San Franciscans to the Peninsula and East Bay.

    Also, Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom are two of the most pro-gay politicians in the history of this country. To see gay people bashing them for being “pro-business” and “having an extramarital affair” is baffling to me. The Clintons have also been strong advocates for gay people. The Obama hysteria is a bit scary.

  29. Derrick from Philly says

    “Obama knows black people will vote for him just because he is black”

    You shoulda’ spoke to Lynn Swann when he ran for governor here in Pennsylvania. He only got about 28% of the black vote compared to the white Democrat who got over 70%. Black skin does not always get you the black vote. Black people have been voting for white men for a long time. How many blacks have you voted for? Yesterday, a lot of white men out west sure did. They won’t in November though.

  30. SBS says

    All of the black delegates are voting for Barack Obama in this campaign. If you read his book, “Dreams from My Father” you’ll understand that race is the most important thing in the world to Obama. His motto is “blacks for blacks”, but you won’t hear him say that now because he needs white votes.

    Barack Obama has never held a job in the private sector. His “community activist” jobs were shake downs of corporations and white sponsored charity organizations.

  31. god says

    So Bill Mahr was right, the blacks did “come home” to Obama…they liked Clinton for the real results he delivered to them but once they saw a brotha that has a chance to win, they jumped at the chance.
    Nevermind that skin color is meaningless as a predictor for success….

  32. Paul R says

    I heard this story long before Monday, so it’s not new information. But of course its release was timed.

    Unless I’m forgetting something, Newsom never cheated on his wife. But he did have an affir with an assistant who was married to another of his aides and supposedly his best friend. I love Gavin, but to me that’s worse than a run of the mill affair…

  33. Derrick from Philly says

    The oppressor always puts his worse traits on the oppressed.

    Who has shown the tendency to vote along racial lines in national, state wide and local elections over the years?

    I’ll never forget Louisiana about 20 years ago. A black man won the Democratic nomination for governor. He was not a liberal. Louisiana is the last southern state with more white Democrats than white Republicans. In the general election, the white Democrats deserted the Louisiana Democratic Party and voted Republican IN MASS. Why? The black candidate was not a liberal, he was not a Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton “type”. There are other incidents like this in American political history.

    There is absolutely no FUCKING evidence that BLack Americans are more likely to vote along racial lines than White Americans. If Barack Obama was a conservative black man, he would NOT get a majority of black votes–just ask Lynn Swann here in Pennsylvania, or that black right-wing asshole who ran for governor of Ohio in 2006. Black people did not vote a majority for those black men–we voted for liberal white Democrats instead.

    If y’all want to give information about the voting habits of black people, just let us know when it’s based on your opinion, but has nothing to do with facts.

  34. says

    Well said Michael Bedwell.
    I cannot believe the pro-Obama anti-evil-corporatist Hillary bs on this board. Since when have gays become the new blue-collar champions of the working man?? If anything, gays have been responsible for the extensive gentrification of many poorer neighborhoods. If anything, working class people have been far more bigoted to gays than corporate America which has enacted widespread reforms against homophobic practices. Where the hell would gay rights be without the backup of major corporations like IBM, GM, Levi Strauss etc.?
    I cannot believe that gays are now playing the anti-corporation snobbery card. Like, inner city people and blue-collar workers are sooo invested in letting their sons come out and take up ballet lessons. Pull your heads out of your asses and recognize which side of your bread is buttered.
    I have consistently admired our community for standing up for our rights and backing candidates who have shown a consistent record of sympathy for gay rights. But, the swell of support for Obama tells me that there are still too few people, as in any oppressed group, who understand who is our true supporter and who is full of hot air.
    Your support for Obama is myopic and shows that just like the straight, you too are blinded by the power of good speech-writing.
    I really hope Obama gets elected and then when his power-grubbing cronies from the black fundie churches ala Donnie McClurkin and Kirbyjohn Caldwell take over and start destroying the rights of minority gays, then maybe you’ll realize your error.
    Oh and another thing, if McClurkin and Caldwell were white, there would be no support for Obama from the gays. The gays are just as racist as the straights. ANd the fact is that WHite gays don’t really give a rat’s ass about the plight of Black gays. At the end of the day, White gays feel much more ok with pardoning Obama for hiring Black Homophobes who are anti Black Gays. This would not happen if Obama was stupid enough to hire white homophobes to shill for him.
    Obama played you and black gays. And you’re just too naive to see it because your racist and simultaneously idealist/socialist asses can’t see thru his schtick. MAybe it’s because it’s so similar to your own.

  35. Bobby Cook says

    I’m not saying that Obama hates gays. What I’m saying is that when everyone else did, he was okay with the anti-gay movement. And that bothers me, it bothers me a lot. Candidate for change?!? where were you then? You weren’t my buddy then Obama, well guess what, you aren’t my buddy now either!

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