President Obama's political team is facing a dilemma: Defining his precise position on same-sex marriage. In recent days, Vice President Joe Biden and cabinet secretaries have said they're in favor of it, putting pressure on the President to do the same. But changing his position on the issue could come at a political cost to President Obama. Josh Robin reports.
UNITED STATES -- President Obama wants to talk jobs, but a simmering social issue is stepping on his message: Gay marriage. Scripted or unscripted, it flared up again Sunday.
"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women are entitled to the same rights," Vice President Joe Biden said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
The President is opposed, but says he's evolving, disappointing some seeing an otherwise solid gay rights record.
"This is not going out on some kind of limb," said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry.
Wolfson points to a new poll showing most independents support same sex marriage, enough, perhaps, to dilute social conservatives who may be riled up enough to vote in large numbers if Obama changes his mind.
Going in Obama's favor, his new stance may bump turnout among left-leaning voters.
"Even people who may not fully agree on the Freedom to Marry will respect the President for saying what he believes and being true to his convictions and then turning to the bigger, broader questions that most people are really going to make their decision for President on," Wolfson said.
Observers, meanwhile, see a downside for Obama to continue staying where he is, supportive of gay rights, but not of their right to marry. That makes him appear indecisive and calculating and makes it that much harder for Democrats to describe Republican Mitt Romney the same way.
"Either you're for something or you're against it."
Former Governor Pataki held a conference call on behalf of Romney Tuesday.
"Vice President Biden has made it plain, he's for it. President Obama on the other hand is looking to have both sides," he said.
"Current politicians don't really like to change their positions. But the city and country and the state have all evolved on this and I believe that as we go forward, more and more places, my marriage will be treated equally," Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell said.
Obama's spokesman says the President himself will have to describe whether his view has changed, setting up the possibility of a shift whenever reporters get a chance to ask him directly.