GOP's main focus against Obama: Economy or gay marriage?

Do you believe gays should be allowed to marry?

See the results »

View previous polls »

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama delighted his liberal base by coming down on the side of gay marriage, but he cheered the opposition, too.

Republican activists now want to use Obama's stance on the issue — public opinion is about evenly split — to paint the president as a flip-flopper and to boost Mitt Romney's image in the eyes of conservatives who are still warming to him.

Yet, across the Republican Party, from leaders to activists interviewed since Obama's announcement, there's been wide agreement to use the gay marriage issue selectively — in battleground states that have banned gay marriage, for example— and keep the GOP's national political focus on Obama's stewardship of the economy.

"I'm going to stay focused on jobs, thanks," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said repeatedly when asked about Obama's announcement on gay marriage. "The president can talk about it all he wants. I'm going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on."

Romney is taking a similar approach, avoiding any discussion of the issue unless he's questioned about it and focusing on the economy.

"It's hard right now. It's real tough," he said Friday in Charlotte, N.C. "It's because of the wrong policies. The right policies are going to put America back to work and make us the economic powerhouse we've always been."

While Republican activists acknowledge that the economy is the top concern for voters, they also see the night-and-day contrast between Obama and Romney on gay marriage as being too good not to exploit at the right times, in the right places. On questions of whether Romney's sufficiently conservative, for example. Or on the subject of consistency.

Particularly appealing, some activists said, was the White House's notion that Obama's "evolution" on the issue is somehow different from flip-flopping.

"This is one situation where Obama looks like the flip-flopper and Romney looks consistent," said Ralph Reed, president of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative, grass-roots advocacy group. "So much for the notion that Romney's the one with no core."

Romney has taken heat from Democrats and some Republicans for changing his position on some issues, such as abortion. But the former Massachusetts governor has not done so on gay marriage. He has been consistent in saying he believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

Obama held an identical position through his 2008 election, but he said in late 2010 that his views were "constantly evolving." Feeling pressured by events this week, Obama announced his new position Wednesday.

Before Obama went on record in support of same-sex marriage, Vice President Joe Biden last Sunday pronounced himself "absolutely comfortable" with men marrying men and women marrying women. Then on Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he supports gay marriage, too. The next day, voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment banning gay nuptials, making it the 30th state to do so.

Besides the political and financial value of the issue, Republicans see a geographic benefit since several of the states that will decide the White House race have banned gay marriage in some form. In Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Virginia, for example, highlighting Obama's embrace of gay marriage and Romney's opposition to it could help energize conservative constituencies and win over right-leaning independents.

"This isn't going to be the No. 1 issue in the campaign, but it's going to mean a point or two in some of those selected states," said Richard Viguerie, a longtime conservative fundraiser. "Conservatives are going to be methodical about it, working in the churches and doing groups on the ground."

Activists are racing to turn emotions into contributions for grass-roots organizing and ads and, in November, votes.

"President Obama has made this an issue in the campaign and we are confident that Mitt Romney will eagerly defend the voters of these states against the president's attempt to impose same-sex marriage on the nation," said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

Groups focused on a broader portfolio of issues say gay marriage will be one of several social issues on their agendas but that none will be emphasized as prominently as Obama's performance on the economy.

Before Obama's announcement, Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition was preparing a voter guide and social media campaign that included gay marriage with other social issues.

"The only thing that's changed now is that we can say that Obama himself has come out and stated that he's for single-sex marriage," Reed said.

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America, a conservative grass-roots group, didn't need Boehner's counsel to know that Obama's support for gay marriage shouldn't play a leading role in the election. She's seen the polls that show America roughly split over gay marriage, although with support for it growing, as well as surveys that leave no doubt voters remain jittery about the economy and their personal finances.

"I don't want to see the election just based around social issues," Combs said. "You can't keep Americans' minds off of the economy."

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 38

Coastal writes:

115,000 jobs were created in April, but in order for the Obama regime to claim the unemployment fell to 8.1% they had to remove 522,000 Americans out of the labor force numbers.

That officially brings our labor force participation rate to a 30 year low of 64.3%.

Bramble writes:

Dear Republicans,

Trying to use government control to force religious and social views on the public, resisting budget cuts for the military (already the most expensive in the world), and refusing to consider not only budget cuts but revenue raising is no way to win votes. It makes you look like morons. And signing pledges for a guy named Grover, doesn't help, either.

If you don't straighten up, you will get pasted in November. That would be too bad because we really do need to have conservative representation in Washington.

Watasha writes:

in response to Bramble:

Dear Republicans,

Trying to use government control to force religious and social views on the public, resisting budget cuts for the military (already the most expensive in the world), and refusing to consider not only budget cuts but revenue raising is no way to win votes. It makes you look like morons. And signing pledges for a guy named Grover, doesn't help, either.

If you don't straighten up, you will get pasted in November. That would be too bad because we really do need to have conservative representation in Washington.

Very well said. And please let's not hear any more from Palin. She's the Wasserman of the Republican party.

Sanity writes:

in response to Bramble:

Dear Republicans,

Trying to use government control to force religious and social views on the public, resisting budget cuts for the military (already the most expensive in the world), and refusing to consider not only budget cuts but revenue raising is no way to win votes. It makes you look like morons. And signing pledges for a guy named Grover, doesn't help, either.

If you don't straighten up, you will get pasted in November. That would be too bad because we really do need to have conservative representation in Washington.

Dear Bramble,

I hope this letter finds your well. Did you get the welfare check I sent you with my hard earned money?

I'm sorry you feel like the GOP is trying to control what you do or where you put your genitalia. Fact is, and even some of my Democratic friends also agree that gay marriage should be left to the states with no federal mandate forcing it on everybody regardless of political or religious ideology. Your Muslim friends also don't like marriages between Adam and Steve so not sure how you will reconcile this.

As far as the military, we still live in dangerous time and we need to have the most powerful military in the world unless you want your grandkids to speak Chinese, Russian and/or live under Sharia law.

In closing, we here at the GOP would like to thank you for you taking the time to write us and we look forward to November. The only thing that's going to be "pasted" come election time will be Obama's concession speech that he will have to look up and copy from Carter.

BobinNaples writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

George W. spent this country into decades of debt through two unnecessary wars. Shaddup you freakin hypocrite and stop trying to blame your woes on Obama.

brianfl writes:

I hear North Carolina is changing it's name because have 2 Carolinas together is just wrong. LOL

NaplesTaco writes:

If anyone here thinks Mitt Romney is any different than Barack Obama , then you are seriously misinformed or just plain ignoring the fact that Politicians at that level pander to the base then play ball with our oligarchy.

Thinking every republican is a gay hating, Muslim fearing birther is just as bad as thinking every democrat is a lazy gay unemployed welfare queen who happens to be from Mexico.

NDN Blogs is one of the most ignorant, xenophobic places i have ever posted on.

Sanity writes:

in response to BobinNaples:

George W. spent this country into decades of debt through two unnecessary wars. Shaddup you freakin hypocrite and stop trying to blame your woes on Obama.

Are we still blaming Bush here? I wasn't aware that he was on the ballot this election. Your savior has had plenty of time to fix this mess and he has made it worse. Trillions more and we are worse off than ever.

BobinNaples writes:

in response to Sanity:

Are we still blaming Bush here? I wasn't aware that he was on the ballot this election. Your savior has had plenty of time to fix this mess and he has made it worse. Trillions more and we are worse off than ever.

Three and a half years is hardly time enough to fix the Bush damage and debt. Why do you want the Bush effect swept under the rug? You are sheltered (or crazy) to not realize things (economy, unemployment) have improved since four years ago.

"Trillions more are worse off" is BS. How are you worse off? Go ahead, name ONE example of how YOU are worse off which is a direct result of this administration (careful not to confuse that with the leftover Bush damage).

Those who forget the (Bush) past are doomed to repeat it.

Aqua writes:

in response to NaplesTaco:

If anyone here thinks Mitt Romney is any different than Barack Obama , then you are seriously misinformed or just plain ignoring the fact that Politicians at that level pander to the base then play ball with our oligarchy.

Thinking every republican is a gay hating, Muslim fearing birther is just as bad as thinking every democrat is a lazy gay unemployed welfare queen who happens to be from Mexico.

NDN Blogs is one of the most ignorant, xenophobic places i have ever posted on.

I agree with your statement about fundamental lack of difference between Obama and Romney. At that level, they are all excellent ball players. My visceral reaction, intutitve feeling, whatever, is that one is playing ball for a foreign team.

greathornedlizard writes:

they got nothing. all they got is that he's a black guy and they don't have the nerve to put on their klan outfits. yet.

Aqua writes:

in response to greathornedlizard:

they got nothing. all they got is that he's a black guy and they don't have the nerve to put on their klan outfits. yet.

Gross oversimplification.

Beachglow writes:

Well, good morning, Naples! I see everybody is still so busy attacking each other that they can't offer one good suggestion or remedy for the future of our country. YAWN....

prelude9925 writes:

in response to NaplesTaco:

If anyone here thinks Mitt Romney is any different than Barack Obama , then you are seriously misinformed or just plain ignoring the fact that Politicians at that level pander to the base then play ball with our oligarchy.

Thinking every republican is a gay hating, Muslim fearing birther is just as bad as thinking every democrat is a lazy gay unemployed welfare queen who happens to be from Mexico.

NDN Blogs is one of the most ignorant, xenophobic places i have ever posted on.

Agreed as usual. Our Founders would roll over in their graves looking at government in general at this point, nevermind the parties.

Avoiding centralization of power was their mission, hence the Constitution and silly things like States' Rights.

Unfortunately, we may be doomed to fail before we realize this fact. You're all getting played by a system that banks on your hatred of the other side and fear of the unknown.

Continue to accept tyranny and you shall continue to get it.

NaplesTaco writes:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ok-gop-...

LIVE OKLAHOMA REPUBLICAN STATE CONVENTION

KR writes:

It's the economy s-----! It's all of obama's failed policies s-----!

Trexler writes:

Obama bees gone...

Sanity writes:

in response to BobinNaples:

Three and a half years is hardly time enough to fix the Bush damage and debt. Why do you want the Bush effect swept under the rug? You are sheltered (or crazy) to not realize things (economy, unemployment) have improved since four years ago.

"Trillions more are worse off" is BS. How are you worse off? Go ahead, name ONE example of how YOU are worse off which is a direct result of this administration (careful not to confuse that with the leftover Bush damage).

Those who forget the (Bush) past are doomed to repeat it.

In only one term Obama has spent almost five trillion dollars which took Bush eight to do. I didn't agree with Bush and I think he did a terrible job especially at the end.

Why is your only defense for Obama's inept government blaming Bush? Obama's job was to get us out of the recession. All he has done is spend us into bankruptcy. If you were hired as CEO for a company and after four years you made things worse or didn't improve do you really think that blaming the previous CEO will fly with the shareholders?

As far as worse off, I will give you more than one example:

1.Inflation (true inflation) has destroyed any disposable income I had. This type of income produces jobs in the economy.

2.My job is also at risk if current trends continue.

3. My insurance has gone up over a hundred dollars (Obama care)a month which is money I don't have.

4. Gas prices. (Obama energy policies)

Like I said above, Obama is the President, not Bush. Obama is destroying this county and I'm not going to help him get another term. How you can defend this inept Presidency is beyond me unless you are a one issue voter and gay rights applies to you.

Chester writes:

The entire gay marriage farce is a political smokescreen aided by obumbles's lapdogs in the media. Average people careless about gay marriage, birth control pills, etc.. Its the economy and energy s----- and they are both in woeful shape! Obumbles is an empty suit who is in way over his head!!!

hot-wire-jim writes:

in response to Sanity:

In only one term Obama has spent almost five trillion dollars which took Bush eight to do. I didn't agree with Bush and I think he did a terrible job especially at the end.

Why is your only defense for Obama's inept government blaming Bush? Obama's job was to get us out of the recession. All he has done is spend us into bankruptcy. If you were hired as CEO for a company and after four years you made things worse or didn't improve do you really think that blaming the previous CEO will fly with the shareholders?

As far as worse off, I will give you more than one example:

1.Inflation (true inflation) has destroyed any disposable income I had. This type of income produces jobs in the economy.

2.My job is also at risk if current trends continue.

3. My insurance has gone up over a hundred dollars (Obama care)a month which is money I don't have.

4. Gas prices. (Obama energy policies)

Like I said above, Obama is the President, not Bush. Obama is destroying this county and I'm not going to help him get another term. How you can defend this inept Presidency is beyond me unless you are a one issue voter and gay rights applies to you.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BackwoodsBill writes:

AP:
Your journalists don't have the skill sets to publish opinion pieces. Please try to do a better job of reporting the news. Leave the opinion pieces to more qualified people.

Klaatu writes:

If Mitt Romney the answer,
Then it's a s----- question !

JunkYardDog_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to greathornedlizard:

they got nothing. all they got is that he's a black guy and they don't have the nerve to put on their klan outfits. yet.

How's $6 trillion further in debt in 3.5 years, and the health care system in a tail spin with increasing premiums, Unemployment still hovering around 8.5%, gas STILL around $3.65, $500 million to failed green energy fiasco known as Solyndra, JP Morgan pulling a bone-r on Wall Street recently (next bail out coming? it's only money) and more people on government assistance then in the history of the USA for starters?

I see you're still playin' that pitiful race card too, eh? Aren't you somethin'...

Watasha writes:

in response to Beachglow:

Well, good morning, Naples! I see everybody is still so busy attacking each other that they can't offer one good suggestion or remedy for the future of our country. YAWN....

I have three good remedies.
1) Reinstate the Glass-Steagall law
2) Term limits for congress
3) Campaign finance reform
Unfortunately neither party is interested in these. Gay people marrying is a more important conversation.

CarpeVeritas writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Libtards? Oooh, that'd hurt if I were in middle school.

"Trying to use government control to force NON religious and social views on the Religious people of this nation" is really a troubling statement.

I really don't think that anyone's suggesting that you go gay and get married. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

What you mean is that your religious and social views are the only correct religious and social views to be permitted under law.

If you are offended that this nation does not march goose-step in line with you, you'll just have to wait for some Pentecostal, Evangelical Jihad to set things right.

BTW I do hope you're not a TP strict constitutionalist. There's that dammed first amendment bit to resolve.

The Bill of Rights weren't written on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Notahiredblogger writes:

in response to CarpeVeritas:

Libtards? Oooh, that'd hurt if I were in middle school.

"Trying to use government control to force NON religious and social views on the Religious people of this nation" is really a troubling statement.

I really don't think that anyone's suggesting that you go gay and get married. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

What you mean is that your religious and social views are the only correct religious and social views to be permitted under law.

If you are offended that this nation does not march goose-step in line with you, you'll just have to wait for some Pentecostal, Evangelical Jihad to set things right.

BTW I do hope you're not a TP strict constitutionalist. There's that dammed first amendment bit to resolve.

The Bill of Rights weren't written on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Excellent comeback CarpeVeritas. Unfortunately Soldier doesn't have a clue as to what you are talking about.

unfatcat writes:

Based on the attrocities that are being thrown like knives against our personal liberties and Constitution; no Republican cares about gay marriage. Those who don't support it, won't acknowledge it anyway if it becomes law. It means nothing in this campaign. This is just bait to lure Republicans through the crazy carnival mirrors; so, they might think they are fat when in fact they are lean.

Klaatu writes:

Just like a mortgage, the debt earns interest, and so the Reagan-Bush-I debt grew during the Clinton years. The average debt interest rate in those years was about 6.5%, which would increase it over 50% without compounding, but with compound interest the total debt – including interest – increased by $2.2 trillion.
Total Republican debt from above: $9.5 trillion
Interest on Reagan-Bush debt under Clinton: $2.2 trillion
Interest on $11.7 trillion after G. W. Bush: $0.3 trillion
(detailed calculation)
Grand Total Reagan-Bushes Debt: $12 trillion (as of Sept. 30, 2010).
If the Republicans had not run up this $12 Trillion debt, we could easily have pulled out of the Great Recession.
**The Obama stimulus package spent $36 billion ($0.036 trillion) before the end of Bush's final budget years. This has been subtracted.
***Republicans blame the "Democratic Congress" for their debt increases. The trouble is that Congress was only Democratic 8 out of the 20 years, and in those 8 years, on average, Congress passed smaller budgets than the Republican presidents requested. The specifics are all right here: It Was the Republicans.

http://zfacts.com/p/1195.html

Chester writes:

in response to SNOWBIRD27:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are just a partisan hack! Eight years of reduced taxes? So you don't count the three years obumbles has been Prez? If he truly wanted to raise taxes back to 2000 levels he had two full years to do it and the GOP could not have stopped him, so that is a false premise. When Obumbles entered office in 2009, unemployment was at 7.4% and now after 5 trillion in BS spending it is 8.1%. You call that a success? Go back to San Francisco, bird brain!

big_peach_e writes:

You can believe the Republicans are better on the economy...if you have amnesia for the years 2000-2008.

JunkYardDog_1 (Inactive) writes:

in response to big_peach_e:

You can believe the Republicans are better on the economy...if you have amnesia for the years 2000-2008.

Or, 2008 to date?

Back it up....

countrygirl writes:

in response to Sanity:

In only one term Obama has spent almost five trillion dollars which took Bush eight to do. I didn't agree with Bush and I think he did a terrible job especially at the end.

Why is your only defense for Obama's inept government blaming Bush? Obama's job was to get us out of the recession. All he has done is spend us into bankruptcy. If you were hired as CEO for a company and after four years you made things worse or didn't improve do you really think that blaming the previous CEO will fly with the shareholders?

As far as worse off, I will give you more than one example:

1.Inflation (true inflation) has destroyed any disposable income I had. This type of income produces jobs in the economy.

2.My job is also at risk if current trends continue.

3. My insurance has gone up over a hundred dollars (Obama care)a month which is money I don't have.

4. Gas prices. (Obama energy policies)

Like I said above, Obama is the President, not Bush. Obama is destroying this county and I'm not going to help him get another term. How you can defend this inept Presidency is beyond me unless you are a one issue voter and gay rights applies to you.

1- Inflation, sure somethings are higher, but some things have gone down in price as well. Our factory, one of several the company owned was slated to close four years ago, now orders have picked up for the last three years... overtime is at an all time high. Interest rates are lower, so we have more disposeable income now. Not as good as the Clinton years, but a lot better than under Bush.

2- My husband and I have more overtime at work than we can handle for the last three years. It started to go down hill in 2001, we lost our SIP bonus checks,then overtime dwindled down to almost nothing until 2005,after that it was nothing and layoffs followed...

Considering the company we work for about to close the doors of the factory we work in and others they own, and we had no overtime from 2006- 2008. We worked under a wage freeze from 2005-2008...

Now our wages are up and we now get SIP bonus checks again,for increased productivity,which we didn't get any from 2005-2008, because orders were down and losses were up..

People have been called back and they hired more. To avoid layoffs in 2006-2008,you have to have 25 years to keep your toes in the door!

3- Our company insurance rates were lowered by 20% per month but not the benefits..

4- Gas prices, still lower than when Bush was in...

So yeah we're better off than we were 3 years ago. Not as good as we were 12 years ago.

8 years of Bush is something we sure don't want to repeat again, can't afford it and too old to start over again.

big_peach_e writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Never let the facts get in the way of good story...Euro Dec 2000= 89 cents. Euro Dec 2008, $1.35, Euro May 2012 $1.31. Do you get your News from Fox and Rush soldier?

amyashby writes:

who cares about gay marriage, its as relevant as allowing blacks to marry whites, yawn... Obama needs to stop giving out money, let them starve, they'll figure it out. No one has ever asked me for a job. I own a small business and could use the help!! Stop the bed sores! NO welfare, no unemployment (it means you ned to get a job) and no food stamps (try the garbage cans). Most of all no 1-800-411 Pain and put morgan and morgan out of business. Thats the problem. An accident is not an opportunity to sue!

EnoughCorporateGreed (Inactive) writes:

in response to NaplesTaco:

If anyone here thinks Mitt Romney is any different than Barack Obama , then you are seriously misinformed or just plain ignoring the fact that Politicians at that level pander to the base then play ball with our oligarchy.

Thinking every republican is a gay hating, Muslim fearing birther is just as bad as thinking every democrat is a lazy gay unemployed welfare queen who happens to be from Mexico.

NDN Blogs is one of the most ignorant, xenophobic places i have ever posted on.

This post is worth reading again. Thanks NT!!

Politicians are all crooks and are dividing us all...

drolds writes:

in response to NaplesTaco:

If anyone here thinks Mitt Romney is any different than Barack Obama , then you are seriously misinformed or just plain ignoring the fact that Politicians at that level pander to the base then play ball with our oligarchy.

Thinking every republican is a gay hating, Muslim fearing birther is just as bad as thinking every democrat is a lazy gay unemployed welfare queen who happens to be from Mexico.

NDN Blogs is one of the most ignorant, xenophobic places i have ever posted on.

Yet, you keep coming back. Again, & again & again....

woods311 writes:

in response to NaplesTaco:

If anyone here thinks Mitt Romney is any different than Barack Obama , then you are seriously misinformed or just plain ignoring the fact that Politicians at that level pander to the base then play ball with our oligarchy.

Thinking every republican is a gay hating, Muslim fearing birther is just as bad as thinking every democrat is a lazy gay unemployed welfare queen who happens to be from Mexico.

NDN Blogs is one of the most ignorant, xenophobic places i have ever posted on.

Democrats and Republicans, are two sides of the same dirty coin.

No matter how informed, or what your reason for voting for a candidate,it is becoming more and more apparent that our system has been hijacked,
and we continue to be forced to vote for the lessor of two evils.

I believe that there is a super majority out there that can stop the insanity.

Give us "I.L.A.C," a "Fair Tax", , and a "Fully Informed Jury."

"I.L.A.C." will help elect people, who will give us the other two, with the added bonus of "TERM LIMITS".

It is time to quit expecting the "Problem" to solve the "Problem".

The time has come for "I.L.A.C."

"I lack confidence in the promises of these candidates."

After all the occupations, and tea parties, the only poll that counts, is the vote in November.

Let the people go to the voting booth armed with the awareness of "I.L.A.C."

If a "super majority" vote "I.L.A.C." on any candidates, in any race, no matter their party affiliation.
It means , to quote a Trumpisim, "You are Fired.", or "TERM" limits.

I would like to see "I.L.A.C." on every ballot in the country.

It is doable, simple, and inexpensive to put a place on our ballot, so that we can vote "none of the above", "I.L.A.C.".
It can be done prior to the November 2012 elections.
If the politicians or bureaucrats won't do it, write in," I.L.A.C."

"I.L.A.C." works within the system provided by our founding fathers, to change our government when needed, at the "The ballot box."

Thanks to the power of the internet the idea of "I.L.A.C.", can be spread about this different choice, and the corrupt, self serving politicians can't stop it.

I believe, that just the awareness that people are considering " I.L.A.C." will cause the politicians to be more careful when making campaign promises.
If not, we will keep sending them home until someone "GETS IT"
.

Thank you politician for spending all that money and supporting the economy. "NEXT".

A peaceful revolution is possible, local, state and federal, "I.L.A.C.",

If we keep doing what we have always been doing, we will keep getting what we have always been getting.

mr_1_term_proposition writes:

in response to Red2020:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That was a one term proposition.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features