Axelrod says Biden was just boiling down the president’s position on gay marriage

David Axelrod. (White House flickr)
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On a conference call this morning, David Axelrod said Vice President Joe Biden's remarks yesterday about same-sex marriage are "entirely consistent" with the president's position on the issue.

Biden made headlines on "Meet the Press" by issuing a strong endorsement of same-sex marriage that seemed to go beyond the president's ongoing evolution on the issue.

But Axelrod parsed Biden's comments a different way, suggesting the famously free-speaking Biden hadn't so much wandered off the reservation as boiled down the essence of the president's commitment to equal rights.

"I think that [the comments] were entirely consistent with the president's position, which is that couples who are married whether they're gay or heterosexual couples are entitled to the very same rights and very same liberties," Axelrod said. "And that's why the president and the administration has stood down on the DOMA court case. The president believes that law is unconstitutional and when people are married we ought to recognize those marriages and accord them the rights to which they're entitled.

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"And that's really the essence when you boil down what the vice president was saying, that was the essence on a policy basis of what he was saying. And that's where the federal government comes into play."

Axelrod also used it as an opportunity to attack Mitt Romney's record on the issue, which includes support for Proposition 8 in California, which restricts rights of same-sex couples.

"There couldn't be a starker contrast on this issue than with Governor Romney, who has funded efforts to roll back marriage laws in California and other places, who believes that we need a constitutional amendment banning the right to gay couples to marry, and would take us backward, not forward," he said. "So there's a very clear distinction in this race."

The same-sex marriage talk was a digression from the rest of the call, which highlighted a new, positive ad from the campaign, which Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina both said was proof that the campaign is "proud" of the president's record.

Axelrod said the campaign would spend $25 million on the ad, which he said would be more than Romney has spent on positive advertising in his campaign thus far.

But Axelrod also reserved the right, more than once, to respond to negative ads against the president, including the ones from "Karl and the Koch Brothers' contract killers over there in super PAC land."

"We will treat every ad that comes from those entities as an ad from Governor Romney," he said.