Obama Evolving on Same-Sex Marriage - Q's for O's WH - 5/7/2012
TAPPER: I want to continue with Jessica's line, but before I do, I did want to see if the president had had an opportunity to see the hostage video of Warren Weinstein, who has been taken hostage by al Qaeda and made a direct plea to the president and referenced - a very personal plea, and referenced his two daughters and the president's two daughters - if there any response from the president, if he's seen it, if he has a response?
CARNEY: Well, the president is aware of it. I do not believe he's seen it, or I do not know that he's seen it. We remain greatly concerned for Mr. Weinstein's safety and his well-being. Our hearts go out to him and his family. We condemn his kidnapping in the strongest terms and call for his immediate release. The U.S. government will continue making every effort to see Mr. Weinstein released safely to his family, but we cannot and will not negotiate with al-Qaida.
TAPPER: OK. And back to the same-sex marriage issue, I think one of the issues is that when asked about the president's position, the president no longer says he is evolving on the issue. He says, I don't have any news to make on that. That's what Stephanie Cutter just a few minutes ago on cable said, I don't have any news for you. The suggest is that there is news there, and you guys are just waiting for the proper time to drop it, likely after November. And -
CARNEY: I think that's your characterization, Jake. I think the president -
TAPPER: I think that's -
CARNEY: - said that he was evolving, and he had - I think when people have asked him that and he has no update to give them or no change in his views to put forward that he's simply saying that, I have nothing new for you on that; his position is what it was. And that's - and that's with regards to his personal views. What I think needs to be remembered here is what he has done in office in support of LGBT rights. And that record is extensive and considerable and unparalleled, and he'll continue to fight for those rights as long as he's in office.
TAPPER: All right, positing that the president has done more for LGBT individuals than any other president in history - so you don't need to say that again - (laughter) - the question is -
CARNEY: But I will.
TAPPER: Just for this question - when you get to Norah, whatever you want - (laughter) - but the question is, it's - I think there are very few people who think that the president is not going to, after November, whether he's re-elected or not, come out in favor of same-sex marriage. I think there are very few people on the president's campaign who doubt that; very few people who support the president, very few people who oppose the president who have any doubt that that is what is going to likely happen.
And if that is the likely future of the president and this position, given that you don't have any news to drop on it, or probably his mind has been made up, why not just come out and say it and let voters decide? It seems - it seems cynical to hide this until after the election.
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.
TAPPER: That's not accurate - I - 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.
CARNEY: No, I think the - we're talking - talking points to you; serious, substantial rights to others, OK? "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 a serious matter.
TAPPER: I'm not quibbling with that, Jay. We're talking about same-sex marriage.
CARNEY: But look, 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.
TAPPER: Because he's still evolving, not because you don't have news for me. It's because he's still evolving.
CARNEY: It is as it was, yes.