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Video: Obama backs same-sex marriage

  1. Transcript of: Obama backs same-sex marriage

    WILLIAMS: Good evening.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: President Barack Obama today became the first American president to say he approves of same-sex marriage . He says his position has evolved, he now personally supports it, but he adds it's up to the states to decide. Many of the states have already spoken and a lot more states outlaw same-sex marriage than those that allow it. Public acceptance of it has risen sharply in the last decade, but still it's an issue where the country is now evenly split. And now it takes its place alongside jobs and the economy among the issues that'll be fought over all the way to November. We begin our coverage tonight with our chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd . Chuck , good evening.

    CHUCK TODD reporting: Good evening, Brian . You know, according to aides President Obama had expressed to them that he had changed his views on gay marriage a couple months ago and was looking for a way to go public with that changed view sometime before this September's Democratic convention . That said, aides admit this was not the week they had planned on going public, but because of Vice President Biden 's comments on " Meet the Press ," it expedited things.

    President BARACK OBAMA: I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.

    TODD: President Obama , who said 18 months ago his views on gay marriage were evolving, told ABC News today that evolution became complete after multiple conversations with his wife and two daughters.

    Pres. OBAMA: You know, Malia and Sasha , they've got friends whose parents are same-sex couples. And I -- you know, there have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we've been talking and -- about their friends and their parents, and Malia and Sasha would -- it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently. It doesn't make sense to them. And frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective. I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient, and I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, you know, the word " marriage " was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.

    TODD: The president still believes marriage is an issue for states to decide and aides said there is not any federal action in the works. This announcement comes a day after a major presidential battleground state , North Carolina , overwhelmingly voted to amend the state's Constitution , banning gay marriage and civil unions . The president sped up his timetable after Vice President Biden said this on " Meet the Press " Sunday.

    Vice President JOE BIDEN: I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights , all of the civil liberties .

    TODD: Over the last eight years, the president has struggled publicly with the issue. In 2004 as a Senate candidate he was against gay marriage , invoking his religion.

    Mr. BARACK OBAMA: We have a set of traditions in place that I think need to be preserved. But I also think that we have to make sure that gays and lesbians have the same set of basic rights that are in place.

    TODD: In his 2006 book " Audacity of Hope " then Senator Obama openly wondered if he was going to be seen as behind the times. He wrote, "In years hence, I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history." It's unclear how this issue will play in the presidential race. Gay rights advocates were ecstatic.

    Unidentified Man: I have gotten text messages from people all across this country, from members of HRC , from people I haven't heard from in a very long time, from my husband. So it's been -- it's been inspiring, and it's been very emotional.

    TODD: And leading social conservatives believe it will help Mitt Romney .

    Mr. TONY PERKINS (Family Research Council): His statement that he supports same-sex marriage goes a long way in addressing the intensity issue that Mitt Romney was facing with social conservatives .

    TODD: Romney , who favors a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay

    marriage, said this today: My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman , and that's my own preference. I know other people have differing views. This is a tender and sensitive topic.

    Former Governor MITT ROMNEY: You know, this is not the first time that Mr. Obama has come out for gay marriage . When he was a candidate for the state Senate in 1996 he filled out a questionnaire claiming he was in favor of same-sex marriage but when he ran for the US Senate 2004 , Brian , he had switched his position.

    TODD: All right, Chuck Todd at the White House starting us off. Chuck , thanks. And as


Photos: Fourth year

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  1. President Barack Obama signs executive orders with Vice President Joe Biden, left, and invited guests during an event unveiling a package of proposals to reduce gun violence at the White House, Jan. 16, 2013. Obama signed 23 executive orders to curb gun violence and demanded Congress pass as assault weapons ban in a sweeping set of measures in response to the Newtown school massacre. "While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there's even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try it," said Obama. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. President Barack Obama holds the last news conference of his first term in the East Room of the White House Jan. 14, 2013. Obama used the opportunity to pressure congressional Republicans, anticipating another showdown over the debt ceiling, warning of a potential economic catastrophy for Americans and the economy if the country were to default. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai hold a joint news conference at the White House on Jan. 11, 2013. The two appeared to be closer to an agreement on the U.S. troop withdrawl and support of reconcilition efforts with the Taliban. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff Jack Lew, center, applaud outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, after Obama nominated Lew to replace Geithner as Treasury Secretary in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 10, 2013. "Jack knows that every number on a page, every dollar we budget, every decision we make, has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation, our values," Obama said of Lew. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, left, and President Barack Obama watch as John Brennan speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House Jan. 7, 2013. Obama announced his nominations of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama winks as he arrives in the briefing room to make remarks after the House of Representatives acted on legislation intended to avoid the fiscal cliff, at the White House, Jan. 1, 2013. The Republican-controlled House backed a tax hike on the top U.S. earners shortly before midnight, ending weeks of high-stakes budget brinkmanship that threatened to spook consumers and throw financial markets into turmoil. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. First Lady Michelle Obama sits by President Barack Obama as he hugs widow Irene Hirano Inouye at the memorial service for the late Senator Daniel Inouye at the National Memorial Cremetary of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec. 23, 2012. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., during a press briefing at the White House, Dec. 14, 2012. "The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10-years-old," he said, pausing to wipe away a tear. "They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own." (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. President Barack Obama enters to a cheering crowd at Detroit Diesel in Redford, Mich. on Dec. 10, 2012. Daimler AG plans to announce $100 million investment into the facility at Detroit Diesel. (Robin Buckson / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, right, smiles as she is applauded, while President Barack Obama says what an excellent job she has been doing, before meeting with his cabinet on Nov. 28, 2012 at the White House. After being criticized for statements made in the wake of the Benghazi attacks, she withdrew her name from consideration for secretay of state in December. "The confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive, and costly -- to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country," she told the president in a letter. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia,right, share a moment as he pardons the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey Cobbler during a Rose Garden event Nov. 21 at the White House. Cobbler and its companion Gobbler will spend the rest of their lives at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens in Virginia. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. President Barack Obama tours the Shwedagon Pagoda with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov. 19, 2012. As part of a three-day trip to Asia, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar. He met with democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Speaker John Boehner listens to President Barack Obama speak before a budget meeting at the White House with other cabinet members on Nov. 16, in Washington, D.C. Obama said that Democrats and Republicans needed to make "tough compromises" in order to overcome divisions over deficit reduction and avoid the fiscal cliff. (Toby Jorrin / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. President Barack Obama jokingly mimics U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney's "not impressed" expression while greeting members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office, Nov. 15, 2012. Maroney's expression became an internet sensation when during the ceremony for her 2012 Olympic vault silver medal she was photographed giving a brief look of disappointment with her lips pursed to the side. (Pete Souza / The White House via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. President Barack Obama faces reporters at the White House during his first news conference since he was re-elected on Nov. 14. He addressed a range of issues including fiscal cliff and the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus from his position as CIA director following the revealing of an extra-marital affair. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. President Barack Obama holds up a pen as he speaks about the economy and the deficit, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in the East Room of the White House. Pulling a pen from his pocket, Obama said he was ready to sign the tax-cut extension for Americans making less than $250,000 a year. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, right, wave to supporters on election night Nov. 6, in Chicago, Ill. President Barack Obama was reelected for a second term by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Rocker Bruce Springsteen welcomes President Barack Obama to the stage during a rally on the last day of campaigning in the general election Nov. 5, in Madison, Wis. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. President Barack Obama hugs North Point Marina owner Donna Vanzant as he tours damage done by Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012. Putting aside partisan differences, Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie toured storm-stricken parts of the state together taking in scenes of flooded roads and burning homes in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. President Barack Obama looks up from casting his early vote as a poll worker receives a phone call at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago, Ill., Oct. 25, 2012 (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport, Oct. 24, 2012, on the way to Las Vegas. Both Obama and Mitt Romney made whirlwind tours of multiple swing states during the final days of the campaign. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. President Barack Obama gets a hug from a woman dressed as Sesame Street's Big Bird during a campaign rally in Denver, Colo., Oct. 24, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. President Barack Obama speaks to a crowd at a campaign event at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2012. Obama tried to remind voters the importance of early voting. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. President Barack Obama listens to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver, Colo. (Eric Gay / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. President Barack Obama delivers his address during the 67th U.N. General Assembly meeting Sept. 25, 2012 at the U.N. in New York. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama visit State Department employees on Sept. 12, 2012 following the killing of Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Remarking in the White House Rose Garden that day, Obama said, "Make no mistake, justice will be done." (Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Michelle and Barack Obama a visit a grave for those who died in a Oct. 26, 2009 helicopter crash in Afghanistan at Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 11, 2012. The president also spoke at a memorial service at the Pentagon, telling the crowd, "This anniversary allows us to renew our faith that even the darkest night gives way to a brighter dawn." (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. President Obama leads his family - wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia - across the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. after accepting his party's nomination for president on Sept.6. "Michelle, I love you ... Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud. But don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow," the president joked at the top of his speech. (Rick Wilking / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. President Obama meets with local residents of the Bridgewood neighborhood in La Place, La., on Sept. 3, in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. “There is enormous faith here, enormous strength here,” Obama said after surveying the damage. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Obama smiles at personnel sitting behind him as he speaks to troops, service members, and military families at Fort Bliss on Aug. 31, in El Paso, Texas. His speech marked the second anniversary of the end of combat operations in Iraq. “Part of ending these wars responsibly is caring for those who fought in them,” said the president. “We may be turning a page on a decade of war, but America’s responsibilities to you have only just begun.” (Juan Carlos Llorca / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Obama speaks in the White House briefing room in Washington on Aug. 20. The president appeared unannounced, interrupting his press secretary, Jay Carney, at the podium. “Jay tells me that you guys have been missing me," he said, entering the room. Commenting on Mitt Romney's refusal to release certain tax returns, the president said, "This isn’t sort of overly personal, guys, this is standard stuff ... I don’t think we’re mean by asking you to do what every other presidential candidate’s done, right? It’s what the American people expect.” (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Obama inspects drought-stricken corn as he visits the McIntosh farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Aug. 13. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. President Obama talks about the ongoing efforts on the drought during a meeting of the White House Rural Council in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Aug. 7. To his left sit Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Obama called on Congress to pass a farm bill that would provide more aid to ranchers and farmers. "We are seeing devastating droughts throughout the country. It is a historic drought and it is having a profound impact on farmers and ranchers all across many states," Obama said. (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. President Obama speaks at a campaign fundraiser in Stamford, Conn., on Aug. 6, 2012. During the event, Obama took a swing at his Republican rival's tax plan saying, "He'd ask the middle class to pay more taxes so that he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year. It's like Robin Hood in reverse, it's Romney Hood!" (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Kobe Bryant after the men's basketball game between the U.S. and France at the Olympic Games on July 29, 2012 in London. After their 98-71 victory, the entire team lined up for a hug from the first lady. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Obama meets with the victims of the Aurora, Colo., shooting at an area hospital on July 22. After meeting Stephanie Davies, right, and Allie Young, left, he spoke of their courage: "I don't know how many people at any age would have the presence of mind that Stephanie did or the courage that Allie showed." (Pete Souza / The White House via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, look up at themselves on the large in-house video screen for the "Kiss Cam", while watching the first half of Team USA and Brazil in an Olympic men's exhibition basketball game, on July 16, 2012 in Washington. The first couple were booed when they didn't kiss the first time the camera panned to them, but on the second pass, the president planted a big smooch on his wife. (Alex Brandon / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Obama campaigns for re-election in the heavy rain at Walkerton Tavern & Gardens in Glen Allen, Va., near Richmond, on July 14. The tavern is in the Congressional district represented by Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and is a key county in a crucial swing state of the presidential election. The president apologized early in the speech for messing up the hairdos of women in the audience. “We’re going to have to treat everybody for a little salon, hair visit after this,” he joked as the rain fell. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. President Barack Obama speaks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., Friday, July 6. Obama took a two-day bus trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania. (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laughs during a press conference with Afghani President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on July 7. She declared Afghanistan a "major non-Nato ally" of the United States. Of that relationship, Clinton said, "It will open the door to Afghanistan's military to have a greater capacity and broader kind of relationship with the United States, and particularly the United States military." (Brendan Smialowski / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Obama surveys fire-damaged homes in the Mountain Shadow neighborhood of Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 29. Obama declared the scorched region a federal disaster area, releasing federal funds to help fight the wildfires. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Crowds gather outside the Supreme Court on June 28, the day the high court announced it was upholding Obama's 2010 health care overhaul. The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax. (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Obama greets the audience at the 29th annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference on June 22 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Referencing Mitt Romney's address the day before, the president said, "Your speaker from yesterday, he’s promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word.” (Edward Linsmier / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18. The two leaders spoke at great length about the escalating violence in Syria. "We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war," Obama told reporters. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Holding signs saying "Thank You President Obama," illegal immigrants originally from El Salvador and others from the group Casa de Maryland, rally outside the White House in Washington, June 15, after the president announced that the U.S. government will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Daily Caller reporter Neal Monro interrupts President Obama during a press conference about immigration on June 15 in the Rose Garden. "The next time I'd prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question," the president snapped back. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Pedestrians watch as Obama's motorcade leaves a fundraiser held at the home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker in New York on June 14. The price per plate? $40,000. (Keith Bedford / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. President Obama and his wife, Michelle, look out over the Sept. 11 memorial site on Thursday, June 14, in New York. The president and first lady toured the 22nd floor of One World Trade Center, the skyscaper being built in the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site. The president signed a beam for the project which read: "We remember. We rebuild. We come back stronger!" (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Obama shares a toast with Israeli President Shimon Peres after Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in the East Room of the White House on June 13. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Obama reacts to a question during a news conference on the U.S. economy in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on June 8. He urged Congress to pass stalled elements of his jobs plan, warning that severe cuts to government spending, combined with reverberations from Europe's economic downturn, could spend the U.S. economy into a tailspin. (Michael Reynolds / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Novelist Toni Morrison smiles at Obama as before he awarded her a 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on May 29. Other recipients included Madeleine Albright, Bob Dylan, William Foege, John Glenn, Gordon Hirabayashi, Dolores Huerta, Jan Karski, Juliette Gordon Low, John Paul Stevens, John Doar, and Pat Summitt. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng calls into an emergency congressional hearing on May 3. ChinaAid Association Inc founder Bob Fu holds up the phone, while Rep Frank Wolf is seen at left, and Rep. Chris Smith is seen at center. During the call, Chen appealed to seek refuge in the United States. President Obama came under pressure to ensure the safety of Chen. “The Obama administration, has a moral – a high moral – obligation to protect Chen and his family,” said Wolf. “To do anything less would be scandalous.” (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Obama attends a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia, May 28, joined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, left, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center. (Kristoffer Tripplaar / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Obam boards Air Force One at the Des Moines International Airport on May 24, after attending a campaign event. Speaking to a crowd at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, the president mocked his Republican opponent: "Now, I know Gov. Romney came to Des Moines last week; warned about a 'prairie fire of debt.' That’s what he said. But he left out some facts ... His speech was more like a cow pie of distortion." (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Obama greets Joplin High School graduates just before the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2012 on May 21. His speech marked the one year anniversary of the deadly tornado that ravaged the town. "No matter how tough times get, you'll always be tougher," he told the graduates. "No matter what life throws at you, you will be ready. You will not be defined by the difficulties you face, but by how you respond — with grace, and strength, and a commitment to others." (Pool / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Left to right, Obama, Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari talk during a group portrait at the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 21. (Philippe Wojazer / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron (second from left), President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso (second from right), and others watch the overtime shootout of the Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich Champions League final during the G8 Summit at Camp David, Md., on May 19. (Pete Souza / The White House via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Obama listens to newly-elected French President Francois Hollande at a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office on May 18, in advance of the G8 and NATO Summits. Obama told Hollande that their relationship is "deeply valued" by Americans. Just three days after being sworn in to replace Nicolas Sarkozy, the Socialist Hollande held Oval Office talks with Obama on the Euro crisis. (Eric Feferberg / Pool via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Obama is interviewed by ABC's Robin Roberts in the Cabinet Room of the White House on May 9. The president came out in support of gay marriage, saying, "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.” He said he came to change his position after discussions with gay friends and his family. "I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” he said. (Pete Souza / The White House via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on May 2, 2012. The deal insures American military and financial support for the Afghan people for at least a decade beyond 2014, the deadline for most foreign combat forces to withdraw. During Obama's surprise trip to the war-torn nation, he also addressed the American people in a televised address. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. Obama winks as he tells a joke about his place of birth during the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington on April 28, 2012. The annual event, which brings together Hollywood celebrities, news media personalities and Washington correspondents, featured comedian Jimmy Kimmel as the host. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. President Obama 'slow-jams' the news along with Tariq "Questlove" Trotter, left, and Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" on April 24, 2012. (Nbc / Lloyd Bishop/NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event April 18, 2012 in Dearborn, Mich. "I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn't make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream," said Obama. (Pete Souza / The White House via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Standing with millionaires and their assistants, President Barack Obama makes a statement about the "Buffett Rule" in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building April 11, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Named after the billionare invester Warren Buffet, the rule would ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay at least 30 percent of their income in federal taxes. It is a centerpiece to Obama's re-election platform. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. President Barack Obama helps a child roll an egg during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 9, 2012. Thousands of people attended the 134-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the lawn, which was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. President Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington April 5, 2012. "This bill represents exactly the kind of bipartisan action we should be taking in Washington to help our economy," said the president. Behind him, in a rare moment of public support, was Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor. (Yuri Gripas / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Supporters of the president's health care overhaul rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on March 28, 2012. The justices heard three days of arguments over the constitutionality of the legislation. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. President Obama covers the microphone as he arrives at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul, South Korea, March 27, 2012. At left is Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The gesture was a nod to comments he made to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev the day before; a private conversation picked up by a hot mic. (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. President Obama chats with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a bilateral meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, March, 26, 2012. A private moment between the two men was caught by a live microphone, Obama telling the Russian leader he'd have more "flexibility" on missile defense after the general election. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. President Obama looks through binoculars to see North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette in the Demilitarized Zone, the tense military border between the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, March 25, 2012. Obama is with Commander of the United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area U.S. Lt. Col. Ed Taylor, right. (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. President Obama delivers remarks on energy independence at Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio for events on energy independence. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. President Obama shares a laugh with British Prime Minister David Cameron as they sit in the front row at University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, March 13, 2012, while attending a NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship First Four game. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. Nancy Mancias, of the anti-war group Code Pink, looks into an Oakland, Calif., campaign office for President Barack Obama during a March 12 vigil in the wake of a massacre of 16 villagers by a suspected rogue American soldier in Afghanistan. President Obama called the deaths "shocking," and offered condolences to the families who lost loved ones. The killings followed weeks of heightened tension between the U.S. and Afghanistan after copies of the Quaran were incinerated at an air base in Bagram. (Stephen Lam / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Obama speaks after touring the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe plant, on March 9, 2012 in Prince George County, Va. “I want to make stuff here and sell it over there," the president told the audience. "And that’s exactly what you’re doing here." His visit to Virginia came just days after Mitt Romney's GOP primary victory in the state. He again touted the success of the automotive bailout, which Romney opposed, by saying the "heartbeat of American manufacturing was at stake." (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. Obama reacts to a question about what he would say to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney during his first press conference of the year in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 6, 2012. Obama held the news conference hours before results from crucial Super Tuesday contests. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 5, 2012. The two leaders talked on the Iranian nuclear stand-off, with each publicly seeking to stake out some common ground. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. Obama hosts a dinner for members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq in the East Room of the White House in Feb., 29, 2012. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. Obama sings with blues legend B.B. King, right, during a performance with an all-star cast at the White House event titled 'In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues' in Washington, D.C, on Feb. 21. The program, celebrating blues music and recognizing Black History Month, featured performances by B.B. King, Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Mick Jagger, Keb Mo, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks. The president sang a few lines of "Sweet Home Chicago" with King and Jagger at the end of the evening. (PBS / In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. President Barack Obama runs over to greet a small crowd of people after arriving at Paine Field Airport in Everett, Wash., on Feb. 17. Obama toured a production facility and delivered remarks at the Boeing plant in Everett where he used the new Dreamliner as a backdrop to call for programs to help U.S. companies compete overseas. Said the president: "As long as the playing field is level, you can compete with any worker, anywhere, anytime, in China, in Europe, it does not matter. If we have a level playing field, America will always win, because we have the best workers." (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. Obama makes a statement with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about contraceptive care funding in the press room of the White House on Feb. 10. He announced that religiously-affiliated institutions will be able to opt-out from covering birth control for employees, but that insurance companies will be required to foot the bill in those cases. "No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes," said Obama. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. Obama reacts as 14-year-old Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Arizona, launches a marshmallow from Hudy's "Extreme Marshmallow Cannon" during the White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room on Feb. 7. Obama announced new policies to recruit and support science, technology, engineering and math teacher programs, including requesting $80 million in his upcoming budget for teacher preparation. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  82. Melba Conway, an activist with the ANSWER Coalition, holds a stack of signs during a demonstration outside of the White House on Feb. 4. As Iran continued to flaunt its nuclear program, Obama responded with tigther sanctions on Feb. 6, targeting Iran's Central Bank and freezing other assets. (Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  83. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres challenges First Lady Michelle Obama to a push up contest during a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in Burbank, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 1 which aired the following day. (Michael Rozman / Warner Bros. via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  84. President Barack Obama mimics trying to read a mortgage loan contract that he and first lady Michelle Obama signed to purchase their first condo, while speaking at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Va., Feb. 1. The president unveiled a new plan he said will help millions of homeowners to refinance. "If you're underwater through no fault of your own and can't refinance, this plan changes that," Obama said. (Cliff Owen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  85. Obama checks out a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 during his visit to the Washington Auto Show at the Washington Convention Center on Jan. 31. "It's good to remember the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die," said the president in a not-to-subtle jab to Mitt Romney, who opposed the auto bailouts. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  86. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has a pointed conversation with President Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on Jan. 25. She was photographed wagging a finger at the president after greeting him and handing him a handwritten note. Brewer described the exchange as being driven by Obama’s dissatisfaction with her book, though the president described the exchange as being “not a big deal.” (Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  87. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona is hugged by President Barack Obama as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 24. Obama used the speech to focus on economic concerns, laying out what he called a 'blueprint' for revitalizing the economy, improving manufacturing, and restructuring the tax code. Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, resigned the following day to focus on her recovery. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  88. President Barack Obama, right, is picked-up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, left, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant, during an unannounced stop, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Ft. Pierce, Fla. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (88) Obama's first term - Fourth year
  2. Image: Barack Obama, Jeffret Immelt
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    Slideshow (78) Obama's first term - Third year
  3. Image: President Obama Hold Town Hall Meeting In Ohio
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    Slideshow (65) Obama's first term - Second year
  4. USA presidential inauguration
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    Slideshow (68) Obama's first term - First year


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