Behind Obama's Gay-Marriage Nod: Biden

VP's comments forced the president's hand sooner rather than later

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2012 7:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – If the United States of America had a nickel for every time its current vice president opened his mouth and inserted foot, we'd all get a trip to Disneyland. But Joe Biden's comments Sunday instead got us President Obama's personal endorsement of gay marriageyesterday, not at some random point over the summer. The vice president absolutely forced the president's hand in terms of timing, White House insiders tell Politico, and Obama seemed to confirm that in his full ABC interview, aired on GMA this morning. "I had already made a decision that we were going to take this position before the election and before the convention," Obama said.

"He probably got a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit," added Obama. "Would I have preferred to have done this in my own way, in my own terms, without there being a lot of notice to everybody? Sure," he continued. "But all's well that ends well." Biden "leaned in more than he normally would have," a senior adviser tells the LA Times, but the VP fully knew that Obama's mind was made up weeks or months ago when he spoke Sunday. Coupled with Arne Duncan's unexpected stance on the issue the following day, the White House's careful deliberations on the political implications of a presidential endorsement went up in smoke.

President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, delivers his State of the Union before Congress, January 24, 2012.
President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, delivers his State of the Union before Congress, January 24, 2012.   (Getty Images)
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.   (Getty Images)
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.
Behind President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday was Joe Biden's comments on the issue Sunday.   (Getty Images)
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