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David Axelrod On Obama's 2008 Opposition to Gay Marriage: 'Part Of What You Have To Do In Politics' - VIDEO

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Yesterday, we reported on David Axelrod's new book and the claim he makes that President Obama supported same-sex marriage long before he publicly came out in favor of marriage equality in 2012. You'll recall Obama listed his support for same-sex marriage on a 1996 questionnaire when he was a candidate for the Illinois state senate. In an interview with Jon Stewart last night, Axelrod described Obama's decision to go back in the closet so to speak on gay marriage during the 2008 election, publicly opposing marriage equality, as a move that was pragmatic and necessary to moving gay rights forward.

[He's ended] up moving gay rights more than any president ever has. He got rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell, got rid of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and ultimately put gay marriage in a position to succeed. So, you know, that's part of what you have to do in politics. But that is different than the small politics of Washington that we get so consumed in that has nothing to do with anything in the long term.

Meanwhile, in an interview with BuzzFeed, President Obama attempted to refute the notion put forth by Axelrod that he was "bullsh-tting" his position on same-sex marriage in 2008: 

Axelrod wrote in his new memoir that Obama “modified” his position because his aides worried about alienating black Christian leaders, and then complained that he didn’t like “bullsh-tting” voters about it.

“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” Obama said. “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”

Obama said he believed at the time that civil unions were “a sufficient way of squaring the circle,” but that “the pain and the sense of stigma that was being placed on same-sex couples who are friends of [his]” changed his mind.

“I think the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate,” Obama said. “The old questionnaire … is an example of struggling with what was a real issue at the time, which is, how do you make sure that people’s rights are enjoyed and these religious sensitivities were taken into account?”

The rapid change in Americans’ attitude toward gays and lesbians may be the most marked generational shift of Obama’s tenure.

Watch Axelrod's interview with Stewart in two parts (the second of which feature his comments on same-sex marriage and gay rights), AFTER THE JUMP...

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David Axelrod: I Advised Obama to Lie About Opposition to Gay Marriage to Get Elected

As many suspected at the time given his support for it on a questionnaire filled out when he was an Illinois state senate candidate in 1996, President Obama was already fully evolved in his support for same-sex marriage in 2008, according to a new memoir from political strategist David Axelrod.

BelieverAxelrod, who served as Obama's chief campaign adviser, says he instructed President Obama to lie about it in order to get elected, which he did.

TIME reports:

Axelrod writes that he knew Obama was in favor of same-sex marriages during the first presidential campaign, even as Obama publicly said he only supported civil unions, not full marriages. Axelrod also admits to counseling Obama to conceal that position for political reasons. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’ ” Axelrod writes.

Obama told Axelrod "I'm not very good at bullsh-tting" after an event where he told a crowd that he opposed same-sex marriage.

But bullsh-t he did, until a 2012 'breaking news' special report, when he was finally able to tell the truth.

Writes Axelrod:

Yet if Obama’s views were “evolving” publicly, they were fully evolved behind closed doors. The president was champing at the bit to announce his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed—and having watched him struggle with this issue for years, I was ready, too.


David Axelrod Has Stache Shaved Off for First Time in 40 Years: VIDEO

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Obama adviser David Axelrod had his mustache shaved off for the first time in 40 years after raising $1 million (with the help of MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski) for CURE, an epilepsy charity he founded.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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David Axelrod Will Shave His Mustache of 40 Years if Obama Loses Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Minnesota: VIDEO

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Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod has made a Movember pledge - he'll shave off his mustache of 40 years if Obama loses Micheigan, Pennsylvania, or Minnesota.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Piers Morgan Confronts Obama Adviser David Axelrod on Gay Marriage Stance: VIDEO

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The conversation continued Monday night over the weekend remarks by Joe Biden and the attempt by the White House to frame those marks within its own "same legal rights" argument and avoid addressing the marriage issue directly.

David Axelrod was on the defensive again in an interview with Piers Morgan.

Said Axelrod:

"I feel, Piers, that on the policy that the vice president was describing there, that they are in complete accord. That is the president's policy. He believes that couples, heterosexual couples, – gay couples should – should have – have the same legal rights. So what the vice president was stating there was very much in keeping with that policy."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP..

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Obama Strategist David Axelrod Defends President's Position Opposing Marriage Equality: VIDEO

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On last night's The LaSt Word, Lawrence O'Donnell used gay and lesbian dissatisfaction with Obama's position opposing marriage equality as a jumping off point for coverage of progressive disappointment at the President's agenda.

Asks O'Donnell: "Is there something that could happen in the next 12 months that could publicly change what is Obama's public position on marriage equality?"

Said Axelrod: "I'm not climbing into the PResident's head here and telling you what he thinks vs what he says. I think he's made very clear his view that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to their legal rights...I'm not going to project ahead and consider hypotheticals...."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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