As the White House continues to deal with the questions and controversy from Vice President Joe Biden’s comments on Sunday that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage, a new school of thought is emerging that perhaps President Obama and his aides intended for Biden to make his feelings known.
Most observers have taken Biden’s words to be a mistake, another slip of the tongue from a man with a long history of shooting from the lip and getting himself into trouble. After Biden’s appearance on “Meet the Press,” Obama spokesman Jay Carney reiterated that the president’s views on gay marriage are still “evolving” and he is not yet a firm supporter—though he does support legal gay “unions.”
But by allowing Biden to state his support—in addition to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a close friend of the president’s from Chicago who has also publicly stated his support for gay marriage—the White House may be able to pull off a win-win scenario: signal to liberals and gays that the administration is in support of gay marriage, but not go all the way there and potentially alienate Obama supporters in more conservative states where it’s not a popular position.
To emphasize the riskiness of the president supporting gay marriage, one need only look at North Carolina—a state the White House believes may be in play in November—where voters yesterday overwhelmingly passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage, 61 percent to 39 percent.