Obama says gay marriage 'right thing to do' (+video)
He appeared in front of a gay and lesbian leadership group at a fundraiser, in addition to appearances on "The View" and at Barnard College.
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"What we've got this time out is a candidate who's said he would basically rubber stamp the Republican Congress and who wants us to go backwards and not forward," Obama said.Skip to next paragraph
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Earlier in the day, during his address at Barnard, Obama urged the graduates to fight for their place at "the head of the table" and help lead a country still battered by economic woes toward brighter days. "I believe that the women of this generation will help lead the way," he said.
The president's choice of Barnard as his first commencement address of the spring underscored the intense focus both candidates have placed on women. An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted earlier this month showed Obama with a sizable advantage over Romney with women voters, 54 percent to 39 percent.
Obama acknowledged that today's college graduates are entering a shaky job market. To those who say overcoming the nation's challenges isn't possible, Obama said, "Don't believe it." He told the graduates that if they ever despair, they should think of the country's history and what young generations before them have achieved.
"Young folks who marched and mobilized and stood up and sat in from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall they didn't just do it for themselves, they did it for other people," Obama said. "That's how we achieved women's rights, that's how we achieved voting rights, that's how we achieved workers' rights, that's how we achieved gay rights, that's how we've made this union more perfect."
After the speech, Obama taped an appearance on ABC's "The View," which was to air Tuesday. When asked if he would personally fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, he replied, "Well, look, Congress is clearly on notice that I think it's a bad idea." He also pointed to the $2 billion loss in high-risk trading at JPMorgan Chase to reiterate the need for Wall Street reforms.
Tickets for the fundraiser hosted by Martin and the LGBT Leadership Council started at $5,000 per person.
A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that about half of those surveyed say Obama's support for same-sex marriage does not affect their opinion of the president, with about one-fourth saying they feel less favorably toward him and 19 percent feeling more favorably.
There was a big disparity between older and younger adults surveyed, indicating a more intensely negative reaction among older Americans. Forty-two percent of people over the age of 65 said they viewed the president less favorably because of his decision, while 62 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said Obama's announcement did not affect their opinion.