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.”
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.