Jay Carney’s press briefing on Monday did nothing to resolve the confusion over President Obama’s “evolving” position on gay marriage. Despite receiving nearly 50 queries on the issue from almost every conceivable angle, Carney could only repeat talking points about the president’s “unprecedented” support for LGBT rights and left the impression that the White House was trying to have it both ways before election day.
Sidestepping and squirming all the way to the finish line, Carney was especially flustered in response to a challenge from Jake Tapper at the 12-minute mark:
Tapper: Why not just come out and say it and let voters decide? It seems cynical to hide this until after the election.
Carney: I think the president’s position is well-known. . . . 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: It’s not that I don’t want to hear it, it’s that I don’t want to hear the same talking points 15 times in a row.
By the end, there is nearly a breakdown in order as dissatisfaction with Carney’s gay-marriage evasions peaks. In the hubbub one reporter is overheard asking “What do you think the word evolving means? . . . That means changing!” But Carney repeats, now amid laughter from the corps, that “policy positions haven’t changed” and the president’s “record on LGBT rights is simply unparalleled.”
With exchanges like these, little wonder Carney was stuck doing the same dance yesterday.