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Rove: ‘I Could’ imagine a GOP presidential candidate supporting gay marriage

Sunday, March 24, 2013
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Fox News contributor and former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” said that he can imagine the next Republican nominee for the White House supporting marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

“I could,” Rove said on the “This Week” roundtable.

Karl RoveABC

Rove’s comments came days after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, whom Mitt Romney considered as a running mate in the 2012 election, announced that he had shifted his position and supported gay marriage. The vast majority of Republicans in Congress do not support same-sex marriage. Portman is the only sitting senator in the GOP to support same-sex marriage.

In addition to Rove, the round table discussion included former Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina; “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran, who covers the Supreme Court for ABC News; Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile; and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, all weighing in on the same-sex marriage debate:

Following is a transcript of the discussion, courtesy ABC News. (Video of today’s full broadcast can be seen here.)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Karl Rove, can you imagine the next presidential campaign, a Republican candidate saying flat out I am for gay marriage?

ROVE: I could.

But you know what, let’s stay here for a moment. One of the interesting things to me is going to be — we’ve talked about Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy. I’m interested in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How so?

ROVE: Well, she has had comments in the past about Roe V Wade, which Peggy mentioned.

NOONAN: Absolutely.

ROVE: And said in essence…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Went too far, too fast.

ROVE: Too far, too fast.

NOONAN: We over did, yes.

ROVE: And maybe should not have imposed one national view from the court. And what we may see is a decision here that in essence has not a 5-4 decision, but a 6-3, 7-2 that says leave it up to the states. In fact, we could see an 8-1.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And interesting, Jim Messina, even the president is not willing to go quite that far yet. I sat down with him two weeks ago and he went farther than he ever had before in saying that gay marriage is a right guaranteed by the constitution, basically said he can’t imagine circumstances in a state where a ban could be upheld, but still not going quite that far in enunciating the straight constitutional principle.

MESSINA: Look, I think he’s been clear in his position. The country has had a discussion led by him on his evolution. I think I agree with Terry, the country has moved dramatically on this in ten years. 37 percent support ten years ago, now 58 percent, including 81 percent of young people, part of the problems Karl’s party have right now with young voters is people look at them on this, on contraception and think they’re completely out of touch.

I think the president in this — on these two cases has laid out our arguments. The solicitor general is arguing the case in front of him. The president has said very clearly, we do not favor discrimination, that’s why we have come out against prop 8 and we have come out against every state’s attempt to regulate this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And — go ahead.

MORAN: One of the things that happened, Senator Portman coming out this week saying his son’s gayness and that’s changed his mind. Gay people have liberated themselves in this country. And there are tons of Republican legislatures in the federal government and in the state government who have sons and daughters, brothers and sister, colleague and friends who are coming out and saying, how can really you stand against us on this issue of our love and our hearts? And that is how the change is happening.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is this movement inevitable?

NOONAN: George Will said something here a few weeks ago, he said, look, opposition is literally dying out, it is the older Americans, not the younger Americans.

One of the things that I like, by the way, about a compromise in which state by state does it, it’s not only localities and keeping power local, it also takes a little time. Sometimes it’s good when everything takes a little time to settle itself.

May I note by the way, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a famous court liberal, her acknowledging very recently was in I think The Times today, that the Rove Versus Wade decision, the abortion decision, had gone too far and was an overreach. That is an epic statement from an American liberal left jurist.

The Supreme Court is taking up two cases this week involving same-sex marriage. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that most Republicans still oppose gay marriage and noted that 30 states have defined marriage between a man and a woman.

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