President Obama Breaks Silence Over Prop 8 at DNC Fundraiser...Sort of...
President Obama attended a star-studded Democratic Party fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton and faced protests over Prop 8 silence. Gay and lesbian marriage advocates demanded he weigh in on the anti same-sex marriage ban and on repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Celebs including Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Tyler Perry, Nicky Hilton, Steven Spielberg, Jamie Foxx and Kiefer Sutherland attended the soiree.
The president was joined inside by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), the latter of whom was making his first appearance at a Democratic fund-raiser since switching parties. Also attending the gathering were a slew of celebrities including Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, Tyler Perry, Nicky Hilton, Steven Spielberg, Jamie Foxx and Kiefer Sutherland, among others..
Obama outlined accomplishments of the administration's first four months, including his economic recovery plan, lifting the ban on stem cell research funding, and nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
"I would put these first four months up against any prior administration since FDR," Obama said, adding that he is "not satisfied. I'm confident in the future, but I'm not yet content."
Meanwhile some 300 gay rights protesters were assembled outside the Beverly Hilton hotel hoping the visibility would help sway the president to take bolder action.
The crowd waved rainbow flags and American flags outside the hotel, and chanted "Equal Rights Now!"
A number of groups including the Courage Campaign, Stonewall Democratic Club and White Knot called for an end to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and for same-sex marriage rights. Other demonstrators came out to protest US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Courage Campaign released earlier that day the following statement: "Let's take this opportunity, just one day after the CA Supreme Court makes its decision on Proposition 8, to show our President our support for his daring promise to our community and to highlight the growing movement towards FULL FEDERAL EQUALITY."
The President didn't directly address the nature of the protests occuring outside, but did note that he heard what demonstrator said as his motorcade pulled into the hotel.
"One of them said, 'Obama, keep your promise,' and I thought, 'That's fair.' I don't know which promise he was talking about," Obama said to some laughter, before pointing out that his administration has set out to do what was promised during the campaign.
Obama also repeated a message he previously delivered to the entertainment community at past events, to "make movies that inspire us" and to tell stories "that are not being told." -- referencing movies such as Milk, An Inconvenient Truth, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan.
Obama's statement comes one day after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs refused to provide any official response to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8 in California.