Today at Netroots Nation, the annual conference for bloggers and online activists, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, addressed questions from Kaili Joy Gray of Daily Kos about the president.
Gray asked specifically about President Obama's stance on marriage equality. She pointed out that although he has stood firm in his opposition to marriage equality since entering federal politics, Obama responded in two questionnaires in 1996 with Outlines magazine that he supports same-sex marriage.
Pfeiffer dismissed the questionnaires by saying that the "questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the president." The questionnaire, signed by Obama while he was running for Illinois state legislature, voices support for a number of actions that expand gay rights and treatment of LGBT people.
The video of the exchange is below. Here is the transcript of the on-stage interview between Gray and Pfeiffer:
Gray: It seems like his position has gone from more supportive of civil rights to less supportive of civil rights. Is the president going to evolve again and get back to supporting civil rights on gay marriage?
Dan Pfeiffer: I'll try to paraphrase an answer that the president gave....
Gray: Well, I've got his exact answer right here - 'I favor legalizing same-sex marriage and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.
Dan Pfeiffer: If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the president, there was a long debate about this in the campaign.
Gray: So it's a fake questionnaire?
Pfeiffer: So what I'll tell you is that the president's position has been consistent on this, and what he has said...
Gray: So hold on a minute - you're saying that this was a fake questionnaire.
Pfeiffer: This was litigated in the campaign, there were a number of other issues in that campaign.
Gray: So, the president has never favored same-sex marriage?
Pfeiffer: "The president's position on gay marriage, I will say, is that he has been against it. He has said that the country is evolving on this and he is evolving on it, and he has said why this is. This is an answer he gave when some of the folks in this room were in the White House and meeting with the president. ...
The interview with Pfeiffer reflects a clear contradiction between the president's current, vocal opposition to marriage equality and his previous opinions and perspectives. According to his communications director, he is not saying that he has changed his mind on the issue - he is saying that the evidence of his previous support was a forgery.
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog Gay has more:
It's one thing for the President not to support gay marriage (and it would be a problem nonetheless). But this President supported gay marriage, repeatedly, and now claims he doesn't. And now he appears to be lying about the issue.
That's not fierce advocacy.