This morning at Netroots Nation, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer was pressed repeatedly by dogged moderator Khali Joy Gray about his boss’s “evolution” on same-sex marriage, at one point asking if Obama was ever going to evolve back to his previous position, expressed on a 1996 candidate survey, that he supported same-sex marriage.
Today, the author of that survey and the editor at the time of the magazine that published it (Outlines, now owned by Windy City Times), Tracy Baim, responded to Pfeiffer’s assertion that someone else completed the survey and that it wasn’t signed by the president:
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.
In January of 1996 he filled out the IMPACT questionnaire, and it appears to be in his own writing, and uses the first-person “I” throughout. While the IMPACT questions were a bit more complicated, Obama did say he would oppose any attempts to outlaw same-gender marriage, by supporting a resolution stating “the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who chose [sic] to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage.”
Watch Dan Pfeiffer squirm when pressed by moderator Gray this morning:
I propose an amendment to I.F.Stone’s motto — “All Governments Lie:” Government spokesmen lie the most.
[UPDATE @ 6:55 PM: 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. He has long supported equal rights and benefits for gay and lesbian couples and since taking office he has signed into law the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, signed into law the Hate Crimes bill, made the decision not to defend section three of DOMA and expanded Federal benefits for same sex partners of Federal employees."
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.]