President Obama has yet to make known whether or not he supports gay marriage. Coming out in favor could satisfy and energize his base, but Obama needs to appeal to both bases in 2012, and likely won't take a firm stance before the race is over.
Days after New York passed a law legalizing gay marriage, President Obama was asked where he stood on the controversial issue.
His response? "I'm not going to make news on that today. Good try though."
The White House has previously acknowledged that Obama's past opposition to gay marriage is "evolving" but have been unwilling to say when he might have more to say on the issue -- and when he might say it.
The new New York law coupled with the fact that gay men and women comprise a not-insignificant chunk of the Democratic base and donor community will ramp up the pressure on Obama to say something sooner rather than later about where he stands on gay marriage.
But, political reality suggests Obama will continue to not make news on the issue through the 2012 election.
Obama has spent the last six months moving toward the ideological middle in an attempt to court electorally critical independents. Those voters -- particularly in swing states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania -- would likely be less than thrilled if Obama came out in favor of gay marriage prior to 2012.
Obama's political calculation then is whether to satisfy his base or keep himself viable with independents in the middle of the country. My guess is he'll take the latter option.
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