2012 Election | Barack Obama | Health | Kathleen Sebelius

The White House's Charm Offensive

Picture 30The White House is organizing a tour to reach out to LGBT Americans around the country. From the Obama administration's Office of Communications:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) will partner with key Departments and Agencies to host a series of conferences around the country specifically focused on LGBT Americans.  From February to June 2012, OPE will convene these White House LGBT Conferences to provide grassroots leaders, community organizers, advocates, students, and interested citizens an opportunity to hear directly from the Administration on our efforts to ensure health, well-being, security, justice, and equality for LGBT Americans.

So -- agencies responsible for housing, health, whathaveyou will partner with the OPE, rent a hall, roll into town, and talk to you. The first engagement of the administration's charm offensive will take place in Philly on February 16th, and shall feature Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Venue TBA, and ditto with subsequent engagements -- though the press release promises sessions devoted to "Housing & Homelessness, Safe Schools & Communities, and HIV/AIDS Prevention."

By the way -- the press release went out over email. I tried and failed to find the original announcement at whitehouse.gov. If you should come across it, please do post the link.

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  1. I don't want a conference. I want marriage equality.

    Posted by: carsson | Jan 28, 2012 10:55:15 AM

  2. I don't want "charm." I want ENDA!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 28, 2012 10:57:46 AM

  3. Charm, like talk, is cheap, or to quote Robert Graves:

    "Fine words butter no parsnips."

    Posted by: The Dark Avenger | Jan 28, 2012 11:09:34 AM

  4. I don't want a conference.

    Posted by: essay topics | Jan 28, 2012 11:20:35 AM

  5. I don't want a conference. I want DOMA dismantled.
    And, God knows, I already have enough "charm" for two people!

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Jan 28, 2012 11:32:19 AM

  6. Yeah as usual the homophobe-in-chief and his posse want the LGB vote but they don't want to expend any more energy than pretty words to do it. Whatever.

    Posted by: Brad | Jan 28, 2012 11:45:58 AM

  7. @Brad: Ditto.

    Posted by: RC | Jan 28, 2012 12:02:01 PM

  8. How many such meetings do you expect to get from the GOP?

    The GOP candidates have all promised to reinstate DADT, resume vigorously defending DOMA in Federal Court and to promote a Federal Marriage Amendment.

    Is that more to your liking?

    Posted by: RWG | Jan 28, 2012 12:18:55 PM

  9. @RWG, what is your point? All the previous posters are just asking for full equality. Do you disagree with them?

    Posted by: downtownla | Jan 28, 2012 1:23:43 PM

  10. Wow, talk about misplaced snark. The executive agencies under Obama have significantly transformed ours and our families' relationship with the federal government. No doubt this tour is about the re-election but these agency heads have been leading significant reform over the last three years; a victory lap is well deserved.

    Posted by: Christopher Daley | Jan 28, 2012 1:50:21 PM

  11. The White House's campaign offensive. Headline fixed.

    Posted by: Max | Jan 28, 2012 2:46:35 PM

  12. So they really do miss the GAYTM, huh?

    Talk is cheap. Just get the damn thing done as in out with DOMA and in with ENDA!

    BEFORE the Election. (They're so transparent, it's mot even funny.)

    Posted by: FunMe | Jan 28, 2012 2:58:56 PM

  13. This is yet more White House pandering. I don't want meetings, I want my rights. The White House is simply engaging in the art of sucking up to us in order to win our votes.

    Memo to White House: thanks but no thanks.

    Posted by: jason | Jan 28, 2012 3:34:42 PM

  14. Lot of negative response to this article. Interesting, because I was thinking this is a pretty cool gesture for Obama and his administration. Has anyone besides me considered that Obama has been careful not to move too fast on marriage equality to insure he gets a second term (by not alienating some of his more conservative voters)? Maybe I'm naive, but his decision to not enforce DOMA in the courts, lead from behind on DADT and that his position on gay marriage is "evolving" to me means that in his second term he will introduce legislation to insure these rights for GLBT citizens. And let's not forget about redirecting foreign aid to countries who support GLBT citizens. Sure, he could do more, but he has done more than any president to date.

    Posted by: MattS | Jan 28, 2012 3:38:05 PM

  15. Guys, just remember, your only hope in the next election to get the things you want, is to ensure you have Dems in majority in both The House and The Senate. If you don't (as has happened at the moment) you have no chance of them passing. And, yes, there are cases working towards SCOTUS on DOMa, but they are not yet a done deal, not with the current court...

    Posted by: Stufromoz | Jan 28, 2012 4:09:54 PM

  16. When did a previous President have his administration schedule multiple conferences with the LGBT community in states across America?

    President Obama is the only President to have signed gay rights laws (hate crimes law and DADT repeal).

    He has stopped defending DOMA and he has given hospital visitation rights to gays.

    How can some of you act like he is homophobic?

    He has literally done more for our community than any other President.

    He will be in the history books where gay rights is concerned.

    Posted by: josh | Jan 28, 2012 4:33:33 PM


    There has already been a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate. It happened during the current term of Obama. Nothing of significance happened in this period.

    Perhaps you should worry about getting some basic rights in Australia, first. I heard that you don't have gay marriage in any of the states there. Try harder.

    Posted by: jason | Jan 28, 2012 5:04:27 PM

  18. I am not surprised by the heat this is generating...and deservedly so! However, these meetings should be very well attended. Attendees should present an emphatic response at each meeting letting the charmers know that in return for our support we expect nothing less than that our votes be translated into a vigorous push for full marriage equality in each and every state and full equality, whether one chooses to marry or not, for LGBT Americans everywhere. Nothing short of that, is expected by the end of the second term in office.

    Posted by: Kenn | Jan 28, 2012 5:07:19 PM

  19. Actually, Jason, a number of significant things happened during Obama's 1st term (others have listed them), even when there wasn't a filibuster-proof majority, which is the only way to get past (mostly Republican) obstructionism in DC. And, anything that will get done during Obama's 2nd term will not be thanks to a Republican majority, that's for sure. It will depend on how many Dem's are in power and what Obama can do with his DOJ. Stu is correct. Though the court cases are also important, another reason why we want Obama filling any SC vacancies, and not homophobes-in-chief like Romney or Gingrich.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 28, 2012 5:22:02 PM

  20. Thank you JOSH.

    And, btw, Obama, as the excellent constitutional scholar who understands and respects the limits of executive power, HAS done what he can on DOMA, it's a law so he can't just "get rid of it." It's the repugs who are spending scarce resources defending it. Sheesh!

    Posted by: David R. | Jan 28, 2012 5:22:44 PM

  21. These meetings are going to be a nightmare. Lots of yelling and not much else, because everyone who attends will be angry and nothing new will come out of them. I pity the officials who have to lead them.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 28, 2012 5:27:09 PM

  22. You bitter people are tireless, and annoying. Homophobe in chief? You don't even know what you're talking about, you sound as ignorant as a republican presidential candidate.

    Posted by: Reality | Jan 28, 2012 6:43:02 PM

  23. @Reality: well there are some dumb posters here, but I'm not sure they're *that* dumb aside from two who I won't name.

    This is why the meetings are a waste of time. Shrill people will show up in droves, ruining a chance for honest engagement. But beyond all that, this is a painfully transparent effort at fundraising. Insincere bugs me a lot.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 28, 2012 7:14:46 PM

  24. I'm sure President Romney, with the support of the Mormon Church, will usher in complete, total equality for GLBT Americans the very first day in office. Since there is such blind hatred towards the "Homophobe in Chief" currently in the White House and you'd prefer the alternative.

    Posted by: Terry | Jan 28, 2012 7:19:12 PM

  25. @Reality & Josh: Let's see if I can refresh your memory. Obama had nothing to do with the hate crimes legislation. The heavy lifting on that one was completed by members of congress and the work was pretty much done by the time Obama signed it, though he loves to take credit for it. Obama had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the fight against DADT and even then he made sure to drag it out as long as possible, very nearly losing the battle. It was in his power to stop enforcing DADT but he chose to do so right up until the very bitter end. His Justice department is still carrying out a vicious grudge case against Dan Choi for his role in protesting DADT. His administration is still limiting payments by half to troops discharged under DADT. Those discharged under DADT are still being treated as if they are dishonorable. He was for same-sex marriage before he was against it. He may not be enforcing DOMA, but he isn't doing a thing to get rid of it. Bi-national couples are still being ripped apart by Obama's immigration department. He has never lifted a finger in helping our community. He gives lots of pretty speeches, gives cocktail parties for the elites at HRC but when it comes to real leadership on LGBT issues, he's not there. Friendly homophobes are really no different from antagonistic ones. Neither will fight for us. One leaves you with no doubt on his stance. One will give you conferences and cocktail receptions while working against you in the background. Obama is just doing the conferences because he wants your campaign money and your votes and he hopes that you'll forget how often he's thrown you under the bus in the last 3 years. If you don't know what's going on then you're not paying attention and YOU are the ignorant one.

    Posted by: Brad | Jan 28, 2012 7:26:07 PM

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