COMMENTARY: Frank Rich on bully Romney and the gay vote

The polls have not been too kind to Obama's gay-marriage announcement. Both New York Times/CBS and USA Today/Gallup show around 25 percent of voters saying they’re "less likely" to vote for him because of it. Is Obama going to regret that he did this now?
No. I think it’s safe to say that that 25 percent wasn’t going to vote for him anyway. Some young voters may be energized by his stand. So, obviously, are some donors. Perhaps some black voters down on gay marriage will stay at home. Perhaps. But in political terms, I’d say Obama’s move is either a wash or a plus. In the long-term perspective of history, his endorsement of marriage equality is a big plus.

Alternatively, could Romney be hurt by his association with the anti-gay-marriage forces?
Clearly he thinks so. When he spoke at Jerry Falwell’s old base, Liberty University, in Virginia last week, Mitt was minimalist in his obligatory endorsement of marriage between “one man and one woman.” Even so, the prominent Romney supporter Bill White, the former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, had such a strong visceral response to these mild words that he demanded that the campaign return his contribution ($2,500, the maximum). It had finally sunk in that the presumptive GOP nominee was supporting, as White put it, “a constitutional amendment which would attempt to make my own legal and blessed marriage null and void.”

Is the incident where he bullied a gay student at prep school fair game in a presidential campaign?
As many have said, what is fair game is his strange, chuckling denial of any knowledge of a fairly violent prank that other participants and eyewitnesses remember so vividly. If no other similar incidents turn up, that will be the end of it. How big an “if” that is, I don’t know. Much of Romney’s past remains a mystery to me, as it does to most Americans. Meanwhile Sondheim aficionados can savor a musical recounting of the bullying incident, “Romney Mitt, the Demon Barber of Wall Street."

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