By Justin Sink - 05/10/12 11:30 AM EDT
President Obama admitted in interview footage aired Thursday that while he had already decided to make an announcement endorsing gay marriage before the election, his hand was forced by comments made by Vice President Biden.
"I had already made a decision that we were going to take this position before the election and before the convention. He probably got out a little bit over his skis, but out of his generosity of spirit," Obama told ABC News, in newly aired video from Wednesday's interview in which he became the first sitting American president to indicate support for same-sex marriage.
Asked if he was upset that things had unfolded how they had, Obama said he would have preferred to make the announcement less hastily.
In portions of the interview aired Wednesday, the president said after years of discussions with friends, family and staff on the issue, he had concluded that it was right to support same-sex marriages.
"At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said.
He elaborated on that thinking in portions of the interview aired Thursday, citing his two daughters.
"Malia and Sasha have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. It wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends parents would be treated differently," Obama said. "Frankly that's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective, not wanting to somehow explain to your child why somebody should be treated different when it comes to the eyes of the law."
The president also dismissed the notion that his "evolving" position would open him up to charges of hypocrisy from the Romney campaign. Democrats have hammered the presumptive Republican nominee for what they view as major policy shifts on key issues.
On Wednesday, Romney repeatedly emphasized that he continued to hold "the same view on marriage that I had when I was governor and I've stated many times," and said it appeared the president had "changed his view" on the topic.
But Obama argued that the politics of his announcement were unclear, implicitly contrasting it with some of Romney's shifts that ostensibly were intended to draw new political support.
"I think it'd be hard to argue somehow this is something I'd be doing for political advantage, because, frankly, the politics — it's not clear how they cut. But I'm not going to be spending most of my time talking about this because frankly my job as president right now, my biggest priority, is growing the economy and making sure we put people back to work," Obama said.