Bill Clinton reportedly told John Kerry to throw gays under the bus during 2004 elect
Bill Clinton reportedly told John Kerry to throw gays under the bus during 2004 election. What is he telling Hillary, and is she listening?
Bill Clinton reportedly told John Kerry to throw gays under the bus during 2004 election. What is he telling Hillary, and is she listening?
by John Aravosis (DC) · 6/07/2007 01:25:00 PM ET
The Kerry Edwards 2004 campaign says Bill Clinton tried to throw gays under the bus. Bill Clinton's office says it's not true. Who do we believe? And what does this mean for Hillary Clinton's presidential run?
As Pam Spaulding noted last week, Democratic political consultant Bob Shrum claims in his new book that during the 2004 elections, Bill Clinton advised John Kerry to support the Federal Marriage Amendment, i.e., the anti-gay amendment to the US Constitution that would have banned gay marriage and vitiated scores of other rights that gay couples may have, including health insurance, inheritance, child custody, parenting, and more. Shrum reports that Kerry refused to endorse the amendment.
I decided to check with Bill Clinton's office and the Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaign to find out if this is true. Here is what I found.
Jay Carson, spokesman for President Clinton told me:
"I checked and it's completely untrue. He never advised John Kerry to support the gay marriage ban President Bush was pushing."
A senior Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaign staffer told me:
"It's definitely true. Newsweek had reported that Clinton had said Kerry should support some of the state [anti-gay] ballot initiatives. Clinton believed it would be this grand master stroke to neutralize Bush's base."
I went back to both President Clinton's office and the Kerry-Edwards campaign official, asking them to reconcile the apparent discrepancy. Clinton's spokesman stands by his denial - to the best of his knowledge, it didn't happen. The senior Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaign staffer also stands by their statement that it did happen, noting that Clinton's denial was "typical Clintonian revisionism."
(As an aside, I also went back to Clinton's spokesman to make sure that he wasn't parsing his words - i.e., Clinton never advised Kerry to support the anti-gay amendment that Bush was pushing, but did he advise him to push any other version of the federal amendment? Clinton's spokesman assured me that there was no intent to parse, Clinton never advised Kerry to support any version of the federal constitutional amendment.)
Go back to the Clinton re-election campaign in 1995. Clinton hired Democratic strategist Mark Penn as his pollster and political adviser along with now-conservative pundit Dick Morris. (Mark Penn is also Hillary Clinton's chief strategist for her current presidential run - more on that later). Penn, Morris and Clinton had decided that Clinton was going to win the re-election based on his support for "family values." And family values meant "bashing gays."
By the time Clinton arrived in Chicago for his party's convention in August, nothing that hinted at liberalism was left hanging on him. When the President, who had begun his term advocating the rights of gays in the military, came around to supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition for gay and lesbian unions, Dole was wide-eyed. "Is there anything we're for that he won't jump on?" Dole asked. The answer, essentially, was nothing...
It's no coincidence that after hiring Penn, Clinton signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and then ran radio ads on Christian radio touting his support for DOMA.
From the Associated Press, October 17, 1996:
After angry complaints from gay-rights advocates, the Clinton campaign on Wednesday replaced an ad running on religious radio stations that boasted of the president's signature on a bill banning gay marriages....
The Clinton spot also touted his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, in spite of earlier White House complaints that the Republicans' use of the issue amounted to "gay baiting."
DOMA wasn't something Bill Clinton was forced to do, it's something he chose to do, wanted to do, was happy to do. And that explains why Bill Clinton has never repudiated his support for DOMA. I thought at the time, and still thought up until a few days ago, that Bill Clinton was forced to sign DOMA. That the only reason he hadn't repudiated that support - hadn't said "look, it was GOP gay-baiting and I didn't have a choice, no Democrat had a choice" - was because it might put Hillary in a bind, forcing her to also repudiate DOMA, something she of course would WANT to do but couldn't because it might prove politically dangerous. But now it seems Clinton's Choice was much clearer, and more calculated, than that. Clinton thought DOMA was a great idea for him then, and thinks it's a great idea for his wife now. It's not a necessary evil, it's manna from heaven.
The final proof that legislative gay-bashing is still something President Clinton recommends as smart Democratic politics? Bill Clinton wanted to make sure that John Kerry's presidential defeat in 2004 would be blamed on Kerry's unwillingness to sufficiently bash the gays. That's the most sensible explanation for why he made the following leak to Newsweek within days of Kerry's loss (Kerry-Edwards campaign staff tell me that they were not the ones who leaked this to Newsweek, and Clinton and his people were the only other party involved).
President Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act when he was in the White House, advised Kerry in a phone call early in the campaign to find a way to support the state bans. Kerry never considered abandoning his principles to that extent, but he also didn?t take seriously enough the threat.
So now the gays lost Kerry the election. Priceless.
It gives me no joy to bash Bill Clinton. I cannot express sufficiently how much I admire the man's intellect and his political acumen. We had lunch with him last fall, and my first thought was "this is what a real president is like." He possesses so many of the qualities that our party and our politicians lack nowadays. But the man is politically amoral. Not immoral - amoral. And he, along with his amoral campaign aide Mark Penn, are the top advisers to Hillary Clinton's presidential run. And that should give every supporter of gay rights, civil rights, or any other issue, serious pause.
There's already a growing concern in the gay community that Senator Clinton, while "good on paper" on gay issues - and once considered remarkably good personally - will throw us under the bus if and when she becomes president. And let's be clear. We're not talking about some arcane tax policy issue. We're talking about our lives. Having the Democratic party's top two legislative gay-bashers as her top two advisers, men who will betray any cause, any principle, any supporter, for a bump in the polls (read more about Mark Penn's own loyalty problems here and here), does nothing to assuage those growing concerns.
""I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It
should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on
the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to
amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians
from marrying." - Barack Obama""
"""The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by
President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996, after
moving through a legislative fast track and
overwhelming approval in both houses of the
Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. Its Congressional
sponsors stated, "[T]he bill amends the U.S. Code to
make explicit what has been understood under federal
law for over 200 years; that a marriage is the legal
union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a
spouse is a husband or wife of the opposite sex." 
The legislative history of the bill asserts authority
to enact the law under Article IV Sec. 1, which grants
Congress power to determine "the effect" of such full
faith and credit. Proponents made clear their purpose
to normalize heterosexual marriage on a federal level
and to permit each state to decide for itself whether
to recognize same-sex unions concluded in another
state. Opponents variously question whether the power
asserted extends so far as to permit non-recognition
altogether, argue that the law is unconstitutionally
vague by leaving out essential details, assert a
constitutional right to same-sex marriage, or some
combination of the three.
Although Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act
into law during his re-election campaign in 1996 and
opposed same-sex marriage, he did not mention the law
(or the controversy surrounding it) in his 2004
memoir, My Life.
In a June 1996 interview in the gay and lesbian
magazine The Advocate, Clinton said: " I remain
opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an
institution for the union of a man and a woman. This
has been my long-standing position, and it is not
being reviewed or reconsidered."""
Obama Statement on Pride Month | June 01, 2007 Link Statement on Pride Month
| June 01, 2007
CHICAGO , IL-- U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement to commemorate Pride Month.
"Pride Month is a reminder that while we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do."
"Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
"It's time to turn the page on the bitterness and bigotry that fill so much of today's LGBT rights debate. The rights of all Americans should be protected -- whether it's at work or anyplace else. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" needs to be repealed because patriotism and a sense of duty should be the key tests for military service, not sexual orientation. Civil unions should give gay couples full rights. And those who commit hate crimes should be punished no matter whether those crimes are committed on account of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation."
"This Pride Month, let's make our founding promise of equality a reality for every American."
BARACK OBAMA?S SUPPORT FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY
?While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we
are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
[Obama Statement, 6/1/07]
BARACK OBAMA ON LGBT ISSUES
Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to reach violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack Obama believes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees? domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. Obama also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate
that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Promote LGBT Rights: Barack Obama supported legislation in the Illinois State Senate to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and public accommodations.
Support Full Civil Unions: Barack Obama supports civil unions that give same-sex couples full rights, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits currently extended to married couples, and the same property rights as anyone else.
Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage
Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples. ?We are better than this. And we
certainly owe the American people more than this. I know that this amendment will fail, and when it does, I hope we can start discussing issues and offering proposals that will actually improve the lives of most Americans.? (Barack Obama on the Senate floor regarding the Federal Marriage Amendment, June 5, 2006)
Repeal Don?t Ask-Don?t Tell: Barack Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the ?don?t ask, don?t tell? policy in consultation with military commanders. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a
willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300
language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that homosexuals should have the same adoption rights as heterosexuals.
Fight AIDS Worldwide: There are 40 million people across the planet infected with HIV/AIDS. Every day, AIDS kills 8,000 and HIV infects 6,000 more people. The disease is set to become the third-leading cause of death worldwide in the coming years. Barack Obama has been a global leader in the fight against AIDS. He traveled to Kenya and took a public HIV test to encourage testing and reduce the stigma of the disease.
Promote AIDS Prevention: Barack Obama believes that we cannot ignore that abstinence and fidelity may too often be the ideal and not the reality. Obama went to a large evangelical conference in 2006 to promote greater
investment in the global AIDS battle. At this conservative Christian event, Obama pushed for a balanced approach to fighting the disease that includes condom distribution. In late 2006, Barack Obama worked to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, which is one of the largest sources of federal funds for primary health care and support services for patients with HIV/AIDS. The bill was named after Ryan White, an Indiana teenager whose courageous struggle with HIV/AIDS helped educate the nation.
Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with
AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Barack Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.