May 13th, 2012
11:22 AM ET
9 years ago

Conservative leader: Obama marriage announcement comes at a cost

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage will hurt him in states he captured in 2008, the president of American Values, Gary Bauer, predicted Sunday.

“I think the president this past week took six or seven states he carried in 2008 and put them in play with this ill-conceived position,” Bauer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage on Wednesday after previously saying his opinions on the issue were “evolving.”

However, the conservative leader said Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, should not focus solely on social issues and should instead “explain to the American people why he would be a great president.”

“I think you do that by giving your views on a whole range of issues,” Bauer said. “If he does that he’ll be very successful.”

Bauer appeared on CNN alongside Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who said social issues should not be a “central point” of Romney’s campaign, but said defending the family “should be a priority.”

“I just think he needs to continue talking about all of the issues that are important to evangelical voters, and I think yesterday was a good start,” Perkins said of Romney's commencement address at the Christian Liberty University on Saturday. “He didn’t dance around the issues; he talked about the common values that he shares with the evangelical community.”

The influential social conservative criticized Romney earlier in the presidential cycle for not speaking out strongly enough on social issues and more recently said he should learn from the campaign message of Rick Santorum, who repeatedly invoked such issues during his failed bid White House bid.

On Sunday, Perkins said Obama's statement helped boost Romney's standing with evangelicals, who overwhelmingly support him over the incumbent president, according to recent polling.

“I think the president is what helped Romney this week the most this week with his announcement,” Perkins told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Yet Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois disagreed, telling CNN the president will not "lose votes that he otherwise hadn't lost" following the marriage declaration.

"I'm not sure the evangelicals were going to lean toward President Obama anyway," Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a swing state that banned same-sex marriage in 2006, predicted the announcement would have little impact in his state, which supported Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

"I think what the president's personal opinion is and how he's wrestled with this is just another example of who he is and the strength of his character," Hickenlooper said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't think that's going to affect - have much effect in Colorado."

Turing to vice presidential politics, Perkins and Bauer also offered their suggestions for who should be the former Massachusetts governor's running mate in 2012.

Perkins' pick: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Bauer's pick: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Also see:Also see

Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview

Romney builds inter-faith bridge in Liberty U commencement address

Santorum to Romney: 'Step up' and use 'potent weapon' of same sex marriage

Poll: Majority approves of Obama's marriage decision

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. Say it ain't so

    I believe it'll probably hurt him since those states that were crucial to him in 08' disagree with him on this issue. As far as this showing he has principles it's the opposite, it shows he has no principles or morals.

    May 14, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  2. Phyllis G Williams

    The devil said "Turn America into Sodom and Gomorrhea and get votes". he should have said "Get thee behind me Satan'
    as all of us do when tempted (smile).

    May 14, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. Carl Kerstann

    The republics should worry about getting their own house in order. They have plenty of idiotic comments and ideas to explain such as not being in favor of marriage equality.

    May 14, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. PulTab

    And why would anyone care what Gary Bauer thinks about anything? I hope most people remember his presidential run and what an utter failure he was.

    May 14, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. Joan

    Canada has had same sex marriage for many years and the Canadian society has not collapsed. It has not affected heterosexual marriage one tiny bit and it has made life a lot fairer and easier for thousands of gay citizens. When influential Republicans like Laura Bush, Cindy McCain and Dick Cheney publicly support it, it cannot just be a Democratic position. The Conservative leader David Cameron in Britain supports it. When using the Bible to literally hate gays and call them sinners is a slippery slope because it breaks the rules to love they neighbour and not bear false witness. Humans tried to write down the word of God as best they could at a time when their understanding of many social issues was quite primary. If you follow every detail of the Bible then young brides can be stoned if they are not virgins, wives can be beaten to death if they commit adultery, no-one should work on Sunday, no-one should eat shellfish, money makers should not be allowed in houses of worship and the list goes on. It is the basic concept of love, forgiveness and fairness that should be followed from the Bible. God is probably most proud of those who love all of his children.

    May 14, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Tex71

    Any decision to stand up for what is right comes at a cost – especially when there are powerful political interests vested in the issue. Where is the evangelical vote without abortion and gay rights controversies? If those two matters ever ceased to be controverisial, religious extremists would lose interest in the political process. They are a knee-jerk voting bloc that the conservative establishment absolutely needs to survive.

    May 14, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. jenniferatlanta

    As a Christian, I am sick of religious leaders who perpetuate the idea that gay people are bad humans who choose to be warped and perverted and ignoring the fact gays , like heterosexuals, are incapable of changing their sexual wiring . This is cruel and there are countless christian gay people who have been tormented simply because they are different , not because they are humans with bad motives.

    May 14, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  8. Lucky18

    I feel just the opposite. This was a bold decision, by a President, that makes bold decisions. He will be seen as such!
    I also believe, the Republicans will be seen as "non inclusive", which they've always been.

    May 14, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. jenniferatlanta

    They ignore the countless religious people who come out of the church closet because they have different sexual orientation like Ted Haggard the former Evangelical leader .Being gay does not equate to being a warped person . Do any of us think we can REALLY change our sexual orientation ?

    May 14, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  10. bermille

    And if it doesn't and Obama gets re-elected, does that mean God hates Republicans?

    May 14, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. Johnjon

    any bets as to which minority group conservatives will target next?

    May 14, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  12. McShannon

    The cost to t-ax ex-empt organizations mainly Franklin Graham who makes around $750,000 using t-ax ex-empt money to run pol-itical ads to get NC Amend-ment one passed is disgusting. Not even the Po-pe says it grieves me and it grieves Go-d how arrogant!

    May 14, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. tp1776

    I'm wondering also if Pres Obama wants to be on the right side of history and will let the election results fall where they may. If he can't win on an improving economy and if the country truly wants Romney & republicans in charge, maybe he's thinking ok, let the country have the republicans and if they hurt people enough the democrats will run them out of office for a good long time

    May 14, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. McShannon

    In your dreams Republicans

    May 14, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  15. nilla

    I don't quite get the connection between keeping gays from marrying and "protecting the family".

    May 14, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  16. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    The GOBP cult and its rightwing hatemonkeys sound desperate AND pathetic.

    May 14, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. Stuart A L

    I live in NC and struggled with the vote last week. I sat in the booth for what felt like hours trying to figure out what or how to vote. I am a white male and neither democrat or republican. I knew that NC did not recognize gay marriage prior to the vote and had the amendment not passed, it wouldn’t change the fact the NC did not recognize same sex marriages. I have friends that are gay and a father that is gay. But the way in which the amendment was written asked me to identify what marriage is to me. This was not fair. It essentially asked me to look at 'my' moral stance as opposed to my governmental stance or view. Had the amendment been written another way and asked me, should NC extend the same privileged or rights afforded to married couples to individuals in partnership, civil unions or co-habited living arrangements – I would have voted a completely different way. I don’t think that government should recognize any marriage – rather give the option for two adults to contractually agree to share equitable rights, taxation, property and dependent care…the end. Take marriage out of it. It just wasn’t right…none of it…to ask me to weigh my personal beliefs against those of my civic belief. Had it been written to address equitable benefits, only, the outcome, for me, would have been different. I left the vote feeling horribly torn and sad and cried when I got to my car.

    May 14, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Peddling religion pays well. What would God say.

    May 14, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. Jimm

    Seriously...Gary Bauer? Does anyone really care what this clown thinks?

    May 14, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  20. woodofpine

    The President proves that he doesn't say stuff – anything – just to be popular. How about Etch-a-Sketch? Obama knew this came with a cost, but it also distinguishes him from his mealy mouthed mealy policied opponent.

    The President doesn't set policy on this so people needn't get in an uproar, unless they REALLY Hate gays. The hate patrol already is bonded to the GOP.

    May 14, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  21. Ethics Board

    "Obama's statement helped boost Romney's standing with evangelicals"

    Ha, like he ever had that vote anyway.

    May 14, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  22. gcg1956

    How many so called Christians follow everything in the BIBLE? Shouldn't they perfect their own following of the BIBLE before expecting all others to live by the BIBLE?
    (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
    "A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed."

    May 14, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. v_mag

    Gary Bauer heads a tax-exempt "religious" organization. Why should he be allowed to comment publicly on politics while he represents an organization that is getting a free ride on the taxpayer's dime? If he wants to quit his group, or start paying taxes, then he can be a (loud) mouthpiece for the Repugnant Party. Otherwise, he should shut his trap. Religious organizations should keep strictly out of politics.

    Of course, we all know that his organization exists to fluff up the right wing of the Repugnant Party. The religious veneer is just window dressing and has nothing to do with true religion.

    May 14, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  24. DPCFOH

    If anybody is choosing the president over a single issue, they must not be very open minded. There are so many issues that are more relevant to people's lives than just this one, that I hope they are looking at the big picture, rather than taking a magnifying glass on a single issue to make their decision.

    May 14, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  25. The Contentious Otter

    This doesn't affect Obama voters at all. The notion that there are large numbers of people who will move away from Obama because of his support of gay marriage is ludicrous. There may be a small fringe but for the most part, people who are virulently opposed to gay marriage weren't going to vote for Obama anyways.

    These Conservative "leaders" who keep trying to claim the gay marriage issue will hurt Obama fail to realize that the only people who are really upset by the gay marriage issue are the same uber-paranoid Republican nitwits who were never going to vote for Obama anyways.

    May 14, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
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