White House Briefing: Questions About the Halo

Posted by Chris Geidner
May 14, 2012 12:55 PM |

On their way to New York City, where President Obama is about to address the graduates of Barnard College, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked by the press corps about the Newsweek cover image of Obama with a rainbow halo:

1336931961_cover.jpgQ    Is the President aware -- see the Newsweek magazine cover this week, and if so, does he have any thoughts about that?

MR. CARNEY:  I don't know that he's seen it and I haven't spoken to him about it. 

Q    I think in the past he's said that he's read Andrew Sullivan's blog -- have you seen the blog item, and what do you  -- what's your --

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I saw -- I did see -- I haven't read the story yet, but I certainly saw his incredibly powerful and moving blog post last week in the wake of the President's interview with Robin Roberts.  But I have not seen the story.  Look, I think --

Q    Do you have -- does the White House have a reaction to that cover?  I mean, does it minimize the debate at all or does it --

MR. CARNEY:  What we said last week and what the President said and what we've said all along about his firm commitment to the rights of all Americans and the rights of gay and lesbian Americans and the LGBT community is reflected in the support that he has in that community.  And that commitment has been incredibly strong from day one since he became President. 

And he'll continue to fight for the rights of all Americans and oppose efforts to deny rights to individuals or to discriminate against groups of individuals.

Obama's commencement address is to begin at 1:10 p.m. and is slated to be livestreamed here at the White House website, as well as here at Barnard's website (which is live now).

Sullivan's post was titled, "Letting Go of Fear," and, in part, noted:

The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama's journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees - as we all see - that you cannot have one without the other. But even then, you knew he saw that woman's son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment - way off the record at the time - that clinched my support for him.

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