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Silicon Valley supporters cheer Obama's embrace of gay marriage

May 23, 2012|By Christi Parsons

SAN JOSE -- Hours after President Obama’s campaign launched a new video touting his record on gay rights, a group of Silicon Valley campaign supporters cheered him on for publicly embracing same-sex marriage.

Obama asked those who attended the campaign fundraiser – which cost $35,800 per person --  to help him win another term to cement the progress he has made.

 “The strides that we’ve made over the last 3 1/2 years have been extraordinary,” Obama said. “But we’ve still got a long way to go.

 “We may not even finish it in five years,” he said, “but I certainly need another five years to lock in what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The day’s events showed new faith on the part of the campaign that Obama’s public affirmation of gay marriage this month could work for him, or at least would not hurt his reelection chances. Early in the day, the Obama campaign announced the national launch of an outreach effort, “Obama Pride: LGBT Americans for Obama.”

As part of that effort, the campaign also released a video narrated by actor Jane Lynch reviewing Obama’s record of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

 “It’s not just a matter of head, it’s a matter of heart,” Obama says in the video. “It’s who I am. It’s what I care about.”

The video came on a day when Obama presided over graduation at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. – the first in which openly gay cadets were graduating – without explicitly acknowledging his decision to end the military policy that had required gay and lesbian service members to keep secret their sexual orientation.

Advisors to Obama say they aren't sure how his stance on gay marriage will play with swing voters, but they think pocketbook issues are far more important to whether he wins a second term.

Obama's trip to Iowa on Thursday will focus on the economy, the theme he plans to emphasize throughout the campaign.

But at the Wednesday night fundraiser at the home of Douglas Goldman, founder of Certain Software, Obama’s position on same-sex marriage got an enthusiastic reception from a group of about 60 supporters including actor Don Cheadle and musicians Graham Nash and David Crosby.

In introducing Obama to the crowd, Goldman noted that the president had “made history two weeks ago” by embracing same-sex marriage. That was the biggest applause line of the night.

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