OBAMA'S GAY MARRIAGE MUDDLE - "President Barack Obama was cruising along happily in the slow lane on gay marriage, but he's been sideswiped by his own vice president and [Education Secretary Arne Duncan] his best friend in the Cabinet - who have veered off-message in a provocatively public way," Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin and Glenn Thrush write in the story leading our site this morning. "Obama wants to target Mitt Romney but suddenly finds himself playing defense on marriage equality, a social issue that poses a political triple threat: Embracing it risks alienating religiously conservative independents, blacks and Latinos in swing states. Delaying or opposing it ticks off gay Democratic donors and young voters who overwhelmingly support it. But the third path adopted by the president and his advisers...could undermine Obama's 2012 message that he's still a new-breed leader willing to brave political peril for principle." http://politi.co/ILqQEP
EXPOSES INTERNAL WHITE HOUSE TENSIONS - 1 IN 6 BUNDLERS ARE GAY: "Several people close to the White House said the episode has exposed internal tensions within Obama's team between those who want the president to say he favors same-sex marriage before the November election and others who worry about a political backlash if he does," Peter Wallsten and Dan Eggen write on the front of today's Washington Post. "About one in six of Obama's top campaign 'bundlers' are gay, according to a Washington Post review of donor lists , making it difficult for the president to defer the matter...Strategists for [Romney] think that any sustained focus on same-sex marriage could help unite the conservative coalition behind his candidacy, particularly in key swing states such as Iowa, where the Republican Party remains deeply fractured after a bruising primary campaign." http://wapo.st/JZ4BbN
NEW GALLUP POLL - AMERICANS EVENLY SPLIT ON GAY MARRIAGE: A Gallup poll out this morning findsthat50 percent believe same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid with the same rights as traditional marriages. That's steady with a year ago, when their poll found 53 percent approve. This week 48 percent say it should not be legal. Among Democrats, 65 percent support legalization. Among independents, it's 57-40. Meanwhile, three-quarters of Republicans continue to oppose gay marriage. Gallup graphic tracks how opinions have shifted since 1996: http://bit.ly/JsUwUK . A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in March found 49 percent favoring gay marriage and 40 percent opposed: http://on.wsj.com/Jal3qU.
FROM THE TRENCHES OF THE MARRIAGE WAR -
THE NORTH CAROLINA AMENDMENT banning gay marriage will almost certainly pass today.
DAVID AXELROD struggled on CNN last night to explain the president's position: "I'm not going to make news for the President," he said. "The President speaks very well for himself, Piers." Video of Axe: http://bit.ly/IA2QBW. Jay Carney said he doesn't have an update on where the president's views have evolved to during yesterday's briefing: http://politi.co/ITdtVh. Video of Arne Duncan on Morning Joe: http://on.msnbc.com/JNrBZw.
FRANK BRUNI, the New York Times columnist, writes today that he understands why continues to officially oppose gay marriage: "It's smart politics. But it's hardly audacious, and not so inspiring." He notes the irony that the president is appearing with Andrew Cuomo today, who helped spearhead legislation allowing gay marriage. http://nyti.ms/KILAK0
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, the DNC Chair, opened a one-day White House LGBT Conference on Aging in Miami that drew 160 gay activists yesterday. The Miami Herald: http://bit.ly/LzS0QH.
THE DCCC sent a fundraising solicitation Monday off House Speaker John Boehner's support for the House defending the Defense of Marriage Act. http://huff.to/KIJYA8
OBAMA himself is holding a fundraiser for his LGBT Leadership Council in Beverly Hills on June 6. He formed the National LGBT Leadership Council in 2007 to gather gay supporters into "one fundraising and organizing powerhouse," according to the Huffington Post. http://huff.to/JYcuy4
COLORADO CIVIL UNION BILL COULD PASS WITH GOP BACKING: "Supporters of a bill that would allow civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado were hopeful on Monday that the legislation, buoyed by the support of key Republican lawmakers who broke party ranks, would pass before the legislative session ended this week," the New York Times reports. "The bill, which has already cleared the State Senate, passed a pair of House committees last week capping a whirlwind few days where its fate was uncertain. The bill was poised to pass a final committee before facing a full vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a 33-to-32 majority. Supporters say they have the votes to send the legislation to Gov. John W. Hickenlooper, who has said he would sign it. But it was still uncertain whether the bill would reach the final committee in time, or if the Republican leadership would bring the bill to the House floor - effectively killing it." http://nyti.ms/IDQXJS
FLAP HIGHLIGHT'S BIDEN'S "UNEASY SUPPORTING ROLE": The New York Times puts a Joe Biden story, pegged loosely to the Sunday comments that started this firestorm, on A1. "Mr. Biden's effort to subordinate his own voice (or manhood) to the broader enterprise has been a struggle," Mark Leibovich writes. "As with any union of opposites, the one between the rambling vice president and his cautious boss has required time, patience and adjustments. Early on, for instance, it would drive Mr. Obama nuts to stand onstage waiting for Mr. Biden to introduce every dignitary in the room. So the president dispatched a top adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to relay his displeasure to Mr. Biden's office, according to top aides to both men. They initiated a fix: in future joint appearances, the president would remain offstage until the verbose vice president finished talking." http://nyti.ms/LD4yqu