President Obama stepped in it twice this week, once by omission and the other by dishonesty, exposing the dangers of campaign season.
Let's start with the former: Obama visited several colleges around the country this week. At the University of North Carolina on Tuesday, Obama was all positive effusion. "I love North Carolina,"he said. And: "I believe in you. I believe in your future."
What it was not clear that he loves or believes in, however, were marriage rights for same-sex couples. Gay rights advocates, a strong Democrat constituency, were upset that Obama didn't waste a single word on the state's upcoming Amendment One, one of the harshest anti-gay measures in the country, which would ban not just same-sex marriages but civil unions, as well.
In the second instance, Obama, in a Rolling Stone cover interview, denied campaign promises that his administration would step back from federal interference into state medical marijuana laws. "I never made a commitment" to do any such thing, he told the magazine, "because it's against federal law."
Several statements from 2008 refute his argument here, but this one from the Oregon Mail Tribune neatly sums it up: "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," he said at the time.
In the first instance, Obama could be wary of staking his re-election too closely to gay rights -- especially considering the upcoming North Carolina primary and his razor-thin margin in that state from 2008. Likewise in the second: Maybe he thinks opponents could use the drugs issue against him. Or maybe he's just a liar.
Obama must be careful: These voters likely won't turn around and vote Romney, but there's a chance they may just not show up to vote at all.
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