Mitchell Reports | May 10, 2012
>> had their own response to the president's support for same-sex marriage, an amendment passed wednesday night along party lines would stop the justice department from using federal taxpayer dollars to actively oppose the defense of marriage act . today speaker john boehner refused to dive into the debate.
>> i believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. and the president and the democrats can talk about all this all they want. but the fact is the american people are focused on our economy and they are asking the question where are the jobs?
>> let's bring our panel reed wilson from the " national journal " hotline and molly ball for the atlantic. welcome both of you. so speaker john boehner commented on it. said basically i want to talk about jobs. an hour and a half after this announcement not one single republican elected leader said anything significant about it. it seems like they are running away from it and wanted to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs.
>> that's the thing. john boehner didn't really comment about it. in fact at the end of this press conference, this on camera briefing he said you know, i'm not talking about that, i'm go withing to stick to jobs and sort of walked off. i haven't seen a statement from eric cantor , from mitch mcconnell . i think this tells you a little about how far we've come on the gay marriage issue in aits years. in 2004 this was the kujle that the bush campaign used not only in ohio in 11 states they had measures on the ballot. eight years later not only has the president of the united states embraced this in an election year at the sorts of a critical moment when it might have been a political football but the republicans won't touch it. so i think this tells you a little about how we've changed as a country and how we sort of evolved ourselves.
>> earlier on the show ed rendell credited mitt romney with not going for the jugular about this issue with president obama . seems they have all taken a step back on the gop side.
>> absolutely. i think you may see republicans use this issue on a more subtly to energize the base and energize evangelicals and letting surrogates for that population do that but not going the do it again. i think they are not going to do it the way they would have eight years ago where it will be front and center and used as the the centerpiece of a campaign. they are going to want to talk about other things instead. and it's about signaling to sort of independent moderate voters who see this as a wedge issue and see it as distasteful in a way and want to think of themselves as tolerant, a lot of these people who don't, even if they don't support marriage support civil unions and are comfortable with gay people in a way that wasn't the case a decade ago.
>> we here in the washington bubble have gone on about this issue head strong, it's all we talked about all over, we're going back through these pew polls, this issue gay marriage , ranks 18 out of 18 in terms of importance, dead last. the economy, gay marriage , 28. how much more system does this have or will we talk about it in the last few weeks in october november?
>> i think we're talking about it now because it was an historic moment when the sitting president said that he was in favor of gay marriage . i don't think we'll talk about it next week. next week i don't know the war on seniors or whoever is next in the line that these campaigns go through as they are attacking various populations. gay marriage , it's just this -- once again become a sort of secondary issue, that people don't see as hugely important. even on the democratic side. a lot of people thought that president obama might not be finished evolving on this issue because he might face problems with his own base, but take a look at who in the democratic base is most against gay marriage , it's largely african-americans, those, that's the segment of the electorate that is most likely to stick with obama almost no matter what he comes out and says.
>> but the timing of this i think is probably good for both sides because this is a time in the election cycle when you are focused on revving up your base, when you do want to, when the democrats you know, obama is talking to the people he wants to volunteer for his campaign and get mobilized and excited. and so for a lot of the liberal base, not necessarily a core constituency like african-americans but for a lot of them this is frezly emotionally exciting and the same on the republican side i think there may be social conservatives that romney was very much in the process of winning over who will be more -- they will be fired up and driven to him as well at a time when, again, both sides are working on consolidating.
>> someone very out front on the gay marriage issue is san francisco 's nancy pelosi , she said this earlier today talking about the base.
>> yesterday was quite historic. president of the united states advancing civil rights . it was moving, it was historic, and it was a great day for our country.
>> that fund raising letter pretty much writes itself.
>> it has been written many, many times. i have several copies in my in box.
>> the dscc, president obama 's campaign waited six hours to send out their own letter. one of the things i think we learned is just how much lgtb activists asertded themselves. " washington post " estimated one in six obama donors are gay. not only a bigsh uin the democratic base and party but in the base that writes the checks.
>> ultimate 50-50 issue. we won't know till november.