Photo via Twitter, venice4change.
If you ever shouted at the TV because the interviewer wasn't asking the right questions or letting their subject off too easy, Kaili Joy Gray's (aka DK's Angry Mouse) Q&A this morning with White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer was a refreshing tonic.
Though tiny in stature the Mouse proved well-matched to the Washington titan.
I loved how the Mouse set up an appropriate framework for negotiating, prefacing a dialogue on the Amateur Left with, "Do you need us?" Answer: "Yes."
Good, just as long as we are both clear on that.
Also appreciated was when Pfeiffer mentioned DADT Gray provided the reality check that though "repealed," discharges continued. When will they stop? After certification. When's that? Later. Yeah, really, when...?
It still remains unclear. I suspect that question will come up again until they make it happen.
The administration fared rather worse when the issue of marriage equality was brought up. To be fair, I don't believe it is possible to spin a centrist 2006 position to a progressive crowd in 2011.
Truly disappointing was when Gray confronted Pfieffer with evidence of Obama's support of marriage equality in 1996. (Thank you for asking the awkward question.) It's inexplicable that a person revolves backward on this issue, after all. Pfeiffer replied:
"If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the President."
Presumably the document in question is a candidate questionnaire sent to the Windy City Times during his Senate run.
John Aravosis at AmericaBlog has this to say:
So the President is now alleging that that signature is a forgery? And he only realized this today? Why didn't the White House tell anyone this version of events two years ago when Ben [Smith at Politico] did this story? Or any time over the past 15 years that this story has been reported over and over again?
Of course the truth is the President's signature was not forged.
And the awful truth is: "It was good for his political career to support it in 1996. And it was bad for his political career to support it in 2007."
It was a calculated position, in 1996 and 2007, and it still is on 2011.
I get it. North Carolina is fighting to amend their constitution to ban gay marriage in the same cycle President Obama wants their electoral votes.
I do get it.
I am not required to like it. I personally think no candidate should poll voters to decide their position on issues of civil rights and equality no matter what year it is.
I personally think how forgiving Obama's support base is on this pragmatic compromise may have a strong correlation with whether the supporter has a vested interest in the civil rights associated with the issue.
Windy City Times
This is the first time a claim has been made that Obama did not complete the surveys himself, even though his signature is on the typed one sent to Outlines, and the IMPACT survey appears to be completed in his own writing.
To Outlines he typed in the survey response, dated Feb. 15, 1996: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."
It was faxed from the law firm Obama worked for at the time. And it was reported in Outlines newspaper that he backed gay marriage, something his campaign never denied in 1996. He would have had a very small campaign staff, so it was unlikely he had someone else complete the form. In fact he went to the trouble of typing full answers when the form was actually able to be completed as a Q&A. Even if someone else completed the form, Obama signed it, and never denied subsequent reports of its content.
The article actualy details multiple surveys, follow the link for more info.
Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly
has a reaction from the White House's Shin Inouye. Geidner describes it as "backing off."
This evening, the White House is distancing itself from Pfeiffer's comments, with spokesman Shin Inouye telling Metro Weekly, "Dan was not familiar with the history of the questionnaire that was brought up today, but the President's views are clear...
Blah, blah, blah. Neither confirms nor denies if Obama signed it. Does reiterate President supports "equality" but mentions no specific path to making it so.
Inouye did not respond to a follow-up question asking whether the White House acknowledges that Obama did, in fact, sign the 1996 Outlines survey.