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Obama Advisers Furious That Biden Stole President's Thunder on Gay Marriage: Book

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Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's new book Double Down, about the 2012 campaign promises to be as much of a page-turner as Game Change, their previous book which chronicles the behind-the-scenes action during the 2008 election.

ObamaYesterday, Steve reported a tidbit about Michele Bachmann declaring "I'm a loser" after a disastrous Iowa campaign speech, but here's another that will probably be of interest, describing what went on before Obama's "evolution" on marriage equality, which as you may recall, resulted in a daytime TV 'breaking news' interruption.

If you'll recall, there was much debate about whether Obama's 'evolution' was prompted by a  push from Joe Biden, which took place days before, on a Meet The Press segment.

Now we're finding out the answer, the Huffington Post reports:

DoubledownBiden was a veteran of "Meet The Press." Still, the book reports that Obama advisers were worried that he would speak out of turn, and over several days, they spent "upwards of twelve hours" drilling him on a slate campaign issues.

But there was one they left out -- gay marriage.

On Friday, May 4, 2012, Biden sat down to tape the interview, and said, "I am the vice president of the United States of America; the president sets the policy." He added, "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties."

Biden didn't think he had made news. But Plouffe was mad.

"WHAT THE F--K? was his reaction when he took a look at the transcript. We were going to do this! In the next two weeks! As a f--king surprise! HOW CAN THIS HAVE HAPPENED?!" the authors write.

Obama had wanted to "evolve" on gay marriage before Election Day, the book reports, and he was planning to come out in favor the next time he was asked.

Plouffe and White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer had urged him to state his position in a better venue than a simple press conference.

"Find the time and moment soon rather than later," Obama told them.

The book goes on to say that Biden apologized to Obama shortly before that breaking news announcement when he had finally come to understand why everyone was so angry at him.

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Comments

  1. I don't have much to add to the other me.

    Just wanted to add to the sentiment that it was Obama's own fault for dragging his feet.

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 3, 2013 4:03:33 PM


  2. Vint:
    That is certainly not correct to say he has done nothing. He is supportive of repealing DADT. You think Romney won't veto the bill if he were president. He also did something by doing nothing. i.e. stop the defense of DOMA.
    He immediately implemented the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA concerning federal benefits for same sex couples.
    In the humble view, these are great achievements.
    It is unlikely that Romney would have done all these things if he were president.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 3, 2013 4:56:01 PM


  3. @Simon: He gets full credit for not acting against the will of the American people expressed through the votes of their representatives in Congress. He didn't become an actual obstacle in the repeal of DADT. But he doesn't get credit for passing it. An occasional statement that he's in favor of repealing DADT eventually is *not* the same as forceful advocacy manifested by action. He managed to miss nearly every opportunity he had to take action. He took no political or personal risks on our behalf. These are rights we seized for ourselves, not rights given to us by Obama.

    Posted by: Vint | Nov 3, 2013 5:03:40 PM


  4. One thing is quite sure. A Republican administration wound have defended DOMA. You think a Republican president would defy Boner by stopping to defend DOMA?

    Posted by: simon | Nov 3, 2013 5:07:09 PM


  5. One may argue DOMA decision would be the same without Obama. But it would be less likely to be overturned if Obama's appointee Kagan were replaced with a Republican appointee.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 3, 2013 5:26:17 PM


  6. Vint:
    You think he hasn't discussed with the Democratic Congress beforehand and "collaborated" with them? Of course the system mandated that it has to be decided by the Congress, but his "vote" is necessary to get it passed.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 3, 2013 5:30:18 PM


  7. Vint:
    He is not Jesus. I don't expect him to sacrifice himself for us.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 3, 2013 5:36:38 PM


  8. Yes, Obama is better than the GOP alternatives. Yes, Obama is worse than he led on that he would be. And the Democrats had a generational majority for 2 years and did nothing with it. We don't need more Dems, we need better ones.

    Posted by: stevetalbert | Nov 3, 2013 6:30:16 PM


  9. @Simon: not vetoing human rights doesn't make Obama a hero. It's the bare minimum acceptable behavior.

    If you don't mind politicians who have their own re-election as their top priority, rather than the well-being of the governed…you'll get them. Sacrificing a few points in the polls to ensure gay rights wouldn't have made anyone Jesus, it would just have made them slightly less megalomaniacal. But so far there's been no president who's been willing to do that.

    Posted by: Vint | Nov 3, 2013 8:38:55 PM


  10. I don't want a surprise. I want my president and vice president to take a stand. Obama, if your VP beat you to the punch, it's your own damn fault. You snooze, you lose. I'm glad Biden did what he did. Who knows if that "surprise" would have happened if he hadn't pushed the issue.

    Posted by: Marc | Nov 4, 2013 4:28:05 AM


  11. All I know is, no sitting president has ever supported gay marriage. Obama did and won his re-election by sweeping the electoral college. While I would like to attribute his victory to gays flooding the polls, that's unlikely since most of us live in cities that are already democratic. Obama greatly out-performed among two core groups, Blacks and Hispanics, in key states which pushed him over the edge. That was what Romney's pollsters failed to account for.

    So next time you racists pull out your pitch forks, remember who kept Obama in office to fight another day to ensure that repeal of DADT and DOMA continue stay in place.

    Posted by: coattails | Nov 4, 2013 7:45:19 AM


  12. Biden 2016

    Posted by: WeHo | Nov 4, 2013 3:18:04 PM


  13. "Much ADO about NOTHING!!! Who cares what the strategy was or was not, The only important thing is that Marriage Equality PASSED. Monday Morning Quarterbacking is seldom correct.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Nov 4, 2013 9:08:45 PM


  14. The guile. Toying with people's lives for the sake of political machinations.

    Every one of those flacks deserve to have their ass beat.

    Posted by: FFS | Nov 4, 2013 11:52:07 PM


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