Pataki says Obama’s gay marriage evolution is more like the Medvedev flexibility moment

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George Pataki. (Photo via IowaPolitics flickr stream.)
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On a conference call this morning, former governor George Pataki compared President Obama's "evolving" views on same-sex marriage to his comment about having more "flexibility" in U.S.-Russia relations after the election in November.

"To me it's pretty simple, either you're for something or you're against it," Pataki said. "And Vice President Biden has made it plain he's for it. President Obama on the other hand is looking to have both sides, where he's appealing to those who are supportive of gay marriage but is afraid to alienate those who don't.

"And if you ask me, his position is a lot like what he said to then-Prime Minister Medvedev at the open mic in Europe, where he said just wait til after the election, I'll have a lot more flexibility then. Well I think the American people deserve to know today where President Obama stands today and where he will stand next year on this issue."

Obama's campaign has championed his support for equal rights for same-sex couples, but the president's precise position was called into question again on Sunday after Biden enthusiastically backed same-sex marriage. The administration quickly clarified that it wasn't a change in policy, though it's clear the administration has no problem with Biden's stance. Yesterday morning, Education Secretary Arne Duncan became the third high-rnaking member of the administration to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, after Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan expressed his support in November.

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Pataki opposed same-sex marriage as governor, but he also pushed the Republican State Senate to broaden the rights for domestic partners, against the objections of Majority Leader Joe Bruno. 

Mitt Romney favors a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage

The conference call was organized by the Republican National Committee in advance of Obama's visit to a nanotech plant in upstate New York today, and several of the upstate reporters tried to nudge Pataki into a debate over who deserves credit for the plant's success. Yesterday Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the success started 15 or 16 years ago, while the Cuomo administration gave credit to former governor Mario Cuomo.

"Arguing over credit is something for small minded people who get bogged down in the political headlines of the day," Pataki said, referring reporters to the company's website for a list of the milestone investments.

"Well I wanted you to comment because I wanted to have a quote from you," one reporter said.

"It's not in my interest to get into a battle over who did what when," Pataki said.