One-in-six of President Barack Obama's top campaign bundlers are gay, and gay donors had previously given more than expected to Obama's reelection effort. Now, however, some of Obama's previous donors are withholding giving unless Obama signs an executive order banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation by federal contractors.
The Washington Post's Peter Wallsten and Dan Eggen estimated the one-in-six figure using the campaign's list of bundlers who have raised more than $500,000. Eggen told Politico's Dylan Byers that he did not engage in "guesswork" but only counted those who are openly gay.
A bundler is one who raises money from others on behalf of the campaign. The money raised by a bundler who is gay, therefore, is not necessarily tied to Obama's positions on gay issues.
A year ago this month, Politico reported that Obama campaign officials were surprised to find that gay donors were giving more than expected. Those donations came after Obama successfully ushered the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy through Congress, and his administration announced that it would no longer defend in court the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between one man and one woman for the purposes of federal law.
In a message to Obama, some of his top gay and liberal donors have now decided to stop giving to the pro-Obama super PAC until he signs the executive order banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation for federal contractors, Greg Sargent of The Washington Post reports.
In an email to Sargent, Paul Yandura, a political adviser to Democratic fundraiser Jonathan Lewis, explained, "A number of gay and progressive donors, unsolicited, have indicated to us that they aren't considering requests to donate to the Obama SuperPac because of the president's refusal to sign the order. And those are high-dollar asks, some in the seven digits. We have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors that they stand united with us."
Liberal activists are also upset with the Obama administration this week for its muddled message on gay marriage. In a Sunday interview, Vice President Joe Biden said that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage and those opposed do so out of fear of the unknown. As soon as the interview was over, White House officials were emailing reporters to clarify that Biden had not changed his position, but is, like Obama, still "evolving" on the issue.
Dana Milbank, opinion writer for The Washington Post, wrote Monday that everyone in the White House press corps takes the cynical view that Obama is secretly in favor of gay marriage, but is waiting until he gets reelected to announce it.
"Whatever Obama's public position, there was little doubt in the briefing room Monday that the president supports gay marriage and that he would go public with this position after Election Day, when he no longer need fear losing independent voters," Milbank wrote.
Obama's stance that he is "evolving" on the issue could be a way to straddle both sides of the issue until the next election. Another possibility is that it is a genuine reflection of Obama's own ambivalence.
Obama says he is opposed to gay marriage. He is also opposed, however, to a federal law that would not recognize gay marriage, and he has not supported state laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
"So help me out here. He opposes bans on gay marriage, but he doesn't yet support gay marriage?" NBC's Chuck Todd asked White House spokesperson Jay Carney Monday.
Carney described Obama's views as "crystal clear."