Jay Carney Has a Lot to (Not) Answer for on Gay Marriage

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The White House Press Secretary has taken a beating the last couple days, facing more than 50 questions on the gay marriage issue and they are questions the press is not about to stop asking. 

According to The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez (whose counting skills are unquestioned) there were more than four dozens queries that Jay Carney fended off during yesterday's White House briefing, as he was asked about every possible angle of the situation: Joe Biden's "comfortable" comments, the President's reaction to them, his support from LGBT voters, the support the White House gives them, and just how much "evolving" everyone is doing on the subject. Quite a lot, apparently, but Carney has "no news" on that front.

Watching the replay on C-SPAN is a little like watching an overplayed comedy routine as Carney struggles to find the 46th and 47th way to not say anything about President Obama's opinions. Here's just one of the exchanges, involving ABC News' Jake Tapper: 

  MR. CARNEY:  Jake, I think the President's position is well known.  He's spoken to this.  It's gotten a great deal of coverage.  I don't have an update to provide you on the President's position.  It is what it was.  I'm sorry you don't want to hear about the President's support for LGBT rights because it's considerable.

Q    It's not that I don't want to hear it.  I don't want to hear the same talking points 15 times in a row.

MR. CARNEY:  I think the -- talking points to you; serious substantial rights to others.  Okay?  "Don't ask, don't tell" -- repealing "don't ask, don't tell" is a serious matter.  The efforts that this administration has taken on behalf of LGBT citizens are serious matters.

Q    I'm not belittling that, Jay.  We're talking about same-sex marriage.

MR. CARNEY:  I think that's the context of this discussion. I just don't have anything more to give to you on the issue of the President's views.

Q    Because he's still evolving.  Not because you don't have news for me, it's because he's still evolving.

MR. CARNEY:  It is as it was, yes. 


Q    Why does the President oppose same-sex marriage?

And so on. The questions continued today, during an abbreviated press session on Air Force One when three of the 13 questions were related to the gay marriage issue. (For comparison's sake, two were about Maurice Sendak.) Since the general consensus seems to be that the President's stance will continue to "evolve" all way beyond November, we suspect Carney is going to get awfully tired of evading the issue. Maybe the press corps will get bored and move on to something else, or maybe Obama will finally step up and put it a stop to it himself, but until that happens Jay Carney would like to once again remind you about the president's accomplishments on gay rights and that you should please ask him something else.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.