msnbc | May 08, 2012
>> jonathan, let's talk about the president's schedule today. he's going to appear in albany with new york governor andrew cuomo . cuomo's the one who spearheaded new york 's attempts for marriage equality . let's take a look, the gallup research showing support for marriage equality has grown over recent years. when you break it down by the party, the majority of democrats and independents support it. however, the president is reticent on coming out and saying that he has a fully evolved stance. what is the president waiting for?
>> well, that's the $64,000 question , thomas. what is the president waiting if r? all we're asking the president to do, we, those of us who favor marriage equality and just those folks who just want him to say the obvious, his actions speak to someone who favors -- the department of justice has declared the so-called defense of marriage act unconstitutional and won't defend it against court action at the direction of the president. the president has even said that he would sign -- he supports senat senator dianne feinstein 's act to repeal.
>> a lot of people say it's always about, what have you done for me lately and what's coming next? chairman steele, i want to remind everybody about north carolina voting today on amendment one. that defines marriage between a man and a woman. the president hasn't taken a firm stance on marriage equality . but he has come out against amendment one. if the president does voice support of marriage equality , does he risk alienating voters in key battleground states like north carolina , florida, virginia?
>> yes, he does. that's the political calculation here. i would agree with my friend jonathan capehart on the substance of it in terms of what the president should do. we all know where he stands. this idea floating around washington that the president is going to come out for supporting gay marriage after the election is just inane. people looking for principle leadership, if it's a part of your core, we expect you to stand firm in it, regardless of what the polls say or how a particular group in a battleground state may interpret it. the reality is right now, the country is looking for principled leadership as much as people want to jam up mitt romney on what happened in that little moment yesterday with the voter, the same is true here with the president on a larger constituency on something that's important to them. so just show your true colors and let the political chips fall where they may. people will believe or not believe or support or not support you. but you have to take that first step. and the president hasn't.
>> as we look at this african-americans overwhelmingly support president obama but a majority object to legalizing same-sex marriage. our latest nbc news/" wall street journal " polls has african-american opposing marriage equality by 50% to 41%. why not use political capital within the african-american community to lead on this issue?
>> look, i don't think -- i've been making calls in preparation for a piece on this. if the president were to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, the impact on his support within the african-american community would be zero. i think that pride in having an african- american president in the white house and as president of the united states will trump anything that he could possibly say about marriage equality . so for those who are looking to maybe use -- the folks at the national organization for marriage trying to use in as a wedge issue between african-americans and gays and lesbians , it's not going to work. if the president were to come out in favor of marriage equality , there would be no impact on the president's support, just none.
>> take a look at this. president obama is attending a $2,500 a plate lgtb fund-raiser in new york on monday hosted by ricky martin . there's the invitation there. "the washington post " reporting today that certain lgbt donors are withholding money from the president's campaign. how does the president walk this political tightrope?
>> i think he should do exactly what michael steele said he should do. he should man up and say, this is what i believe. and i think he doesn't lose any african-american votes. jonathan is absolutely right. and the people who vote solely on this issue, single issue voter, gay marriage , none of them are voting for barack obama now and they're not going to vote for him whether he says he's against it.
>> former governor ed rendell , michael steele , jonathan capehart, thank you for your insights this morning.