The whole point of a new $1 million marriage-equality media blitz from the Respect of Marriage Coalition is to show that Republicans like Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Laura Bush support gay marriage — that it's not a partisan issue. But the former First Lady is taking issue with the campaign's main advertisement, insisting that her name and image be removed because, well, because she says so.
The new spot began airing on cable TV on Wednesday, and while there's been no word from Powell or Cheney (who's been pretty supportive of his daughter's marriage), the former First Lady wasted no time in directly ask that she be removed from the commercial. The original clip in question comes from a Larry King interview with Bush in 2010, when she said she would disagree with her husband's stance on gay marriage:
Here's the key Laura Bush quote up for debate:
I think that we ought to definitely look at it and debate it. I think there are a lot of people who have trouble coming to terms with that because they see marriage as traditionally between a man and a woman, but I also know that when couples are committed to each other and love each other that they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.
A statement from Bush's spokesperson states that Bush "did not approve of her inclusion in this advertisement nor is she associated with the group that made the ad in any way. When she became aware of the advertisement last night, we requested that the group remove her from it." Now obviously the ad hasn't been changed or removed from the web, and the Larry King interview seems to fall under fair use, and the ad itself certainly doesn't misrepresent Bush's views—it merely lays them out there, like any political ad tends to do. And, come on, if every politician asked for her public interviews to be removed from ads they didn't approve, we would have no political advertising. Laura Bush may not be used to this, or maybe she and her husband have been enjoying extra-private life a little too much, but her public rebuke isn't winning her any fans on either side. Indeed, she's being labeled a hypocrite:
Laura Bush: "I'm fine with gay marriage but don't you dare tell anyone!" goo.gl/c4oht— Michael Pruitt (@neoookami) February 21, 2013
Salon's Joan Walsh wrote an essay on the ad, pointing out that Republicans like Cheney and Bush shouldn't be lauded for their "gutsy" gay marriage stance.
Laura Bush makes my point about her lack of political courage, asks to remove name from marriage equality ad: salon.com/2013/02/20/sor…— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) February 21, 2013
And even though Bush's walk back might be more about protecting her years-old image, many see her as looking backwards in general:
Having one of the more prominent on-the-record Republicans walk back her stance certainly isn't helping Respect for Marriage get out the message it wanted to — namely, to remove the partisan rancor as gay marriage votes continue to flood the states and as the Supreme Court prepares to issues its rulings on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. But the message now overshadowing their ad blitz now sounds a lot more like: Republicans who support gay marriage don't want you to know they do.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.