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May 09, 2012

Reaction to Obama's "Evolution" on Gay Marriage

Andrew Sullivan: "Today Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may."

Howard Kurtz: "At the risk of resorting to hyperbole, this is a political earthquake that shakes the landscape by putting a divisive culture-war issue front and center. The betting had been that while Biden and others would signal support on a wink-wink basis, Obama would play it safe and take no position until after the election. This was no slip of the tongue; Obama intended to make news when his staff hastily arranged the interview."

Mark Halperin: "If Republicans try to make a big deal about this, the President's advisers believe it will distract from the economy fight and hurt the GOP with younger voters. As David Axelrod made clear the other day, the Obamans will fight back on this issue as needed. Romney now has more questions to answer than the President does on these matters, such as about same-sex benefits. There will be micro-targeting to culturally conservative voters in swing states to be sure, but don't expect this decision to become a major campaign issue."

David Brody: "Obama has given his liberal base a solid 6 month-energy drink that should last them through the General Election. The question for Romney is what can he say or do with the evangelical/Tea Party base to fire them up for the General? It's an open question. One thing's for sure, Obama's support of same-sex marriage just made the electoral map a little dicier."

Harry Enten: "The truth is that when you look at the numbers, there just really isn't anything to suggest that support for gay marriage would be a "killer" electoral liability for Obama. In general, Americans simply don't vote on it as a single issue, and the edges of Obama's coalition are unlikely to be trimmed because he voices support for it."

Greg Sargent: "Whatever the actual impact of this in legislative terms, this is a major historical and cultural moment, and the President deserves kudos for it. Yes, he had to be pushed into taking this step, and those who hammered him ceaselessly on the issue deserve enormous credit for making this happen. But Obama himself has, in various ways, let it be known that he wants people to go out there and make him do the right thing. In this case, he responded."

James Fallows: "I am aware that there are various slice-and-dice cynical assessments one could make of the president's comments today... But the fact remains that five minutes before his announcement, no one could be sure that he would take the step of saying that his personal views had changed. He did -- and it was important, brave, potentially risky, and right. That should be noted. It's a significant day.

Dave Weigel: "You could look at this and think that the campaign's roll-out -- it started on Saturday! -- was undone by Joe Biden's loose talk. An alternate theory: The old, phony Obama position, useful as long as gay marriage was unpopular, had stopped being useful."


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