Joseph Biden Hub
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.
Yesterday, 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:
Biden 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.
Vice President Joe Biden has canceled his keynote speech to the Human Rights Campaign on Saturday, the AP reports :
Biden was scheduled to deliver the keynote address to about 3,400 people at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner on Saturday. It's the nation's biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, and gay and lesbian activists were among President Barack Obama's most loyal supporters during his re-election campaign.
But the partial shutdown of the federal government has led Obama and now Biden to cancel a number of events. Obama canceled an appearance at a glitzy Congressional Hispanic Caucus event Wednesday and has scaled back his upcoming trip to Asia.
Vice President Joe Biden attended Tom Harkin's (D-IA) steak-fry fundraiser on Sunday, a Democratic confab typically seen as the place where candidates get their feet wet for a forthcoming presidential race.
Biden spoke about Syria, and Obama's economic policies, but he also spoke about gay rights, defending his Meet the Press interview in May 2012 at which he came out for same-sex marriage, sprinting ahead of Obama on the issue.
Said Biden at the Harkin event over the weekend:
“A lot of people criticized me for speaking out, not long ago, about gay marriage. I could not remain silent any more. It's time we stopped talking. It’s the civil rights of our day. It’s the issue of our day.....That's why the president eliminated DOMA, Don't Ask, Dont' Tell. That's why he came out against this notiong that marriage can somehow be recognized in one state and denied in another. And when it comes to the rights of - you know the president's phrase, and I'll paraphrase this slightly - that everybody in America should have the dignity to choose who they love and marry who they choose. He believes that but not just because it's a human right because it's about treating everyone with dignity.
Watch Biden's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...
In the latest installment of his audio series entitled, "On the Road to Fairness," Vice President Joe Biden praises the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA, proclaiming,
"I think we're on the verge of seeing America move even further. I think we'll see the day when it is no longer a debate about whether or not same-sex couples can be married and whether or not they deserve every single civil right every other married couple deserves. This is a great day...for every gay and lesbian couple and it should be a great day for every straight couple in America. Now we can look each other in the eye and say: We're on the road to absolute fairness and equity."
Listen as Biden talks about LGBT equality and relates the story behind the above picture of him and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, introducing a gay member of their staff, Carlos, at a special reception they held for the LGBT community this past September AFTER THE JUMP...
President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the LGBT community and its allies to a Pride reception at the White House where Obama urged passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act after touting a list of his accomplishments thus far.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
But LGBT advocates would still like an executive order.
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said “it’s fantastic” that Obama spoke out in favor of ENDA during the reception, but wants the president to take additional action behind the scenes.
“He should follow up his speech today by placing phone calls to lobby ENDA’s holdout Democratic senators like Florida’s Bill Nelson, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Mark Pryor of Arkansas,” Almeida said. “Between the president, Joe Biden, and the White House legislative team, I bet they could convince those Democrats to support ENDA.”
Despite the call to pass ENDA, LGBT advocates who have been calling for the executive order — and weren’t in attendance — said they still expect Obama to take administrative action to protect LGBT workers from discrimination.
Fred Sainz, vice president communications of the Human Rights Campaign, said he appreciates Obama’s support for legislation, but reminded him that issuing the executive order takes only the stroke of a pen.
“We’re elated to have the president’s support for ENDA,” Sainz said. “But we also want his support for an executive order. ENDA need not come before an EO. People’s jobs are on the line and there’s no time to waste.”
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...