Pennsylvanians know that former Governor Ed Rendell (D) is not one to mince words.
On Tuesday, he bluntly told President Obama to "man up" and take a position on gay marriage.
"I think he should do exactly what Michael Steele said he should do, he should man up and say ‘this is what I believe,'" Rendell said, in response to a question from host Thomas Roberts on MSNBC.
President Obama has said he opposes legalized same sex marriage, but also has said his stand on the issue is "evolving," and that he supports equal civil rights for gay couples. Most analysts to believe that the president cannot openly support the change for fear of offending conservative Democrats and independents in swing states such as North Carolina.
In addition, polls have shown many African American voters oppose same-sex marriage. Obama needs a huge turnout of black voters if he is to reassemble his winning coalition from 2008.
An amendment banning gay marriage is expected to pass easily Tuesday in North Carolina. Earlier, Obama had canceled a planned primary day speech in Asheville, N.C. The president did travel Tuesday to Albany, N.Y., where lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo legalized same-sex marriage last year.
Obama would not be harmed politically if he came out in support of marriage equality, Rendell maintained. "I don't think he's going to lose any African American voters," the former governor said. "And the people who vote solely on this issue, a single issue voter, gay marriage, none of them are voting for Barack Obama now, and they're not going to vote for him whether he says he's against it."
Roberts said to Rendell: "Take a look at this though, because President Obama is attending a $2500 a plate LGBT fundraiser Monday in New York City. It’s hosted by Ricky Martin. There’s the invitation there, I’ve got one in my hands right here. The Washington Post is reporting today that certain LGBT donors are withholding money from the president’s campaign. Governor, I’m going to ask this of you, with some pushing to have this put on the DNC platform at the convention, how does the President walk this political tightrope?”