Transcript: Robin Roberts ABC News Interview With President Obama


And, you know-- if you look at the underlying values that we care so deeply about when we describe family, commitment, responsibility, lookin' after one another-- you know, teaching-- our kids to-- to be responsible citizens and-- caring for one another-- I actually think that-- you know, it's consistent with our best and in some cases our most conservative values, sort of the foundation of what-- made this country great.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Obviously, you have put a lot of thought into this. And you bring up Mitt Romney. And you and others in your administration have been critical of him changing positions, feeling that he's doing it for political gain. You realize there are going to be some people that are going to be saying the same with you about this, when you are not president, you were for gay marriage. Then 2007, you changed your position. A couple years ago, you said you were evolving. And the evolution seems to have been something that we're discussing right now. But do you-- do you see where some people might consider that the same thing, being politics?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, if you-- if you look at my trajectory here, I've always been strongly in favor of civil unions. Always been strongly opposed to discrimination against gays and lesbians. I've been consistent in my overall trajectory. The one thing that-- I've wrestled with is-- this gay marriage issue. And-- I think it'd be hard to argue that somehow this is-- something that I'd be doin' for political advantage-- because frankly, you know-- you know, the politics, it's not clear how they cut.

In some places that are gonna be pretty important-- in this electoral map-- it may hurt me. But-- you know, I think it-- it was important for me, given how much attention this issue was getting, both here in Washington, but-- elsewhere, for me to go ahead, "Let's be clear. Here's what I believe." But I'm not gonna be spending most of my time talking about this, because frankly-- my job as president right now, my biggest priority is to make sure that-- we're growing the economy, that we're puttin' people back to work, that we're managing the draw down in Afghanistan, effectively. Those are the things that-- I'm gonna focus on. And-- I'm sure there's gonna be more than enough to argue about with the other side, when it comes to-- when it comes to our politics.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Let's-- let's talk a little bit about that. Because Mitt Romney just recently said that he deserves the credit for the revival of the U.S. auto industry. In fact, he says a lot of credit goes to him. How do you respond to that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well-- you know, I think this is one of his-- Etch-a-Sketch moments. I don't think anybody takes that seriously. People re-- remember his position, which was, "Let's let Detroit go bankrupt" and his opposition to government-- government involvement in making sure that GM and Chrysler didn't go under. And I-- every businessperson and economist out there understands that at the time I had to make the decision, there was no private sector option. Nobody was opening up their wallets to lend money to GM and Chrysler.

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