Obama's same-sex marriage reversal rooted in principle or politics?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight, after years of voicing strong opposition to same-sex marriage, President Obama has reversed his position and now says he supports it. Now in a minute, we will examine how this could impact the November elections. But first, here is what the President told "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts earlier today.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: At a certain point, I 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.


HANNITY: Now, Barack Obama is the first president to ever take this position and his sudden about face comes days after Vice President Joe Biden said the same thing when threw his support behind gay marriage. As a result, Fox News has learned that the White House rushed this announcement which was originally slated to take place they claim right before the Democratic convention.

In other words, this was all about politics as usual. Not principle.

Joining me now with reaction to all of this is Fox News political analyst Juan Williams and the author of the number one New York Times bestseller "Culture of Corruption."

All right. Let's go first to the president. Well now he's in-front of a very different audience now and this is, of course, Pastor Warren, Rick Warren and he was asked the question. Let's play it.


PASTOR RICK WARREN: Define marriage.

OBAMA, AUG. 17, 2008: I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. I'm not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage.

OBAMA, NOV. 26, 2007: I'm not in favor of gay marriage. I'm in favor of civil unions.

OBAMA, OCT. 26, 2004: What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman.


HANNITY: Now, let's look at the different positions on paper here. Because he's had multiple positions in a pretty short period of time. In 1996, he favored it. In 1998, he was undecided. In 2004, he was opposed, 2008 opposed, 2012 now he supports. It sounds like earmarks, sounds like lobbyists, sounds like cutting the deficit in half. Sounds like the president can't make up his mind very well on these things, Juan. What is the problem?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the country is evolving.

HANNITY: I don't care about the country, what about him?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think he -- I think initially as you've brightly said.

HANNITY: By the way, I care about the country, I don't care about the country's position, I'm asking about his position on this.

WILLIAMS: Well, I understood what you meant. I wasn't going to attack you. But I mean, back in '96, he said that he favored gay marriage and then he changed, and I think he changed because of the political temperatures. But, you know, what? I think the whole country has changed, so I don't know necessarily see it as anything that, you know, an indictment of him for saying, hey, look, I've, you know, grown. He says today in the statement that he has staff who are married in gay marriages and he finds them involved in a strong loving commitment. He says, his kids come home and they have children with them who come from parents who are gay and, you know, they offer strong homes to children. I think much of America, you look at the polls. Most Americans now favor gay marriage. Vice President Cheney in his own family, he favors gay marriage.

HANNITY: Yes. All right. Let's go to this. This issue, Michelle, it is earmarks, it is lobbyists, it's cutting the deficits in half. It's NASA. It is where the 9/11 trials will be held, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's Super PAC ads. And as a matter of fact, Crossroads came out with a great ad talking about Obama the flip flopper. Let's roll it.



OBAMA: It a plan that asks everyone to take responsibility for meeting this challenge. Everybody including employers and individuals.

GRAPHIC: Against.

OBAMA: If the mandate was a solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house.

OBAMA: A system where every American bears responsibility for owning health insurance.

OBAMA: What are you going to do about it? Are you going to fine them? Are you going to garnish their wages?

OBAMA: You don't have an individual mandate, then what would everybody do?

OBAMA: If the government does not force taxpayers to buy health care that we will penalize them in some fashion. I disagree with that. We do have a philosophical difference.

OBAMA: What do you think of that idea?


HANNITY: Pretty interesting, Michelle. It seems the Democrats wanted to say that Mitt Romney flip flops but this President flip flops a lot.

MICHELLE MALKIN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes. And I really feel sorry for Juan and for any one on the left and in the Democratic Party who has to take this Herculean intellectually dishonest leap to defend the president's positions -- multiple -- on this issue on so many others. Because every position that Barack Obama takes is an evolutionary composite of dozens of poll tested or a campaign donor approved positions, and that's what's really driving this. It is all about politics and it's all about money. Once again, he is leading behind because of the so-called gaffe that Joe Biden had to make and then walk back and I wonder what Barack Obama now thinks of Joe Biden after he walked back the position that Obama has now adopted. And for all of the Democrats' attacking of Mitt Romney as an etch-a-sketch.

I mean, what is Barack Obama? To me, he is like a lava lamp and there is all these globs of shapeless spineless feckless policies that all sort of heat up and move around when the campaign season heats up and you look at his positions and you listen to Juan talking about, well the country has grown and matured and I think more than anything else what the media reaction shows is just what water carriers they are given the double standards between Mitt Romney's changing positions and Barack Obama's historic growth on this issue.

HANNITY: His evolution.

MALKIN: Right.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Who said these words and one has got to ask, Juan, with all intellectual honesty. I can no longer disown Reverend Wright than I can to black community. What happened to Reverend Wright? Is he, in other words basically anything political he's going to shift and he's going to move and he's going to -- where is he stand?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think these are all political players. Look, he is a political player, but I think there is no problem understanding Barack Obama's position. He is a guy who helped end Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the military. He is the guy that said, I'm not going to stand up and have my Justice Department support the defense, enforce the defense of marriage act that would ban gay marriage across the country.

Mitt Romney is a guy now who is saying, he is only for a federal law that would say no gay marriage. President Obama says, the states can make their own claim. I think President Obama is in a much better position, Sean and Michelle than Mitt Romney.

MALKIN: Let's talk about that because now Barack Obama and once again, let's talk about, OK, what toy is he now? I would say it is silly putty. OK? Because he is trying to stretch every position to make everybody happy of course, and now while he says that he personally supports gay marriage, that he is all for states' rights. Well, he is not on states' rights when it comes to voter ID and when it comes to passing immigration enforcement. And certainly, I would like to hear about his state's right position on abortion referendum as well.

WILLIAMS: Oh my gosh. That is far afield of what we're talking about here, Michelle. And Michelle, the idea that Barack Obama is in line with majority --

MALKIN: No, it's not. It is central.

WILLIAMS: Just a moment. The majority the American people -- I don't understand, when a presidential, when a politician --

MALKIN: Excuse me, 32 states.

WILLIAMS: -- reacts to the will of the people, I thought you would be embracing.

MALKIN: Thirty two states have put the issue of marriage on the ballot or to constitutional amendments and 32 states have voted to protect the traditional.

WILLIAMS: And what did you hear from the president?

HANNITY: He said states' rights.


WILLIAMS: The president says he respects it and Michelle, you are ignoring polls that show 50 plus percent of Americans support gay marriage.

MALKIN: Listen to yourself. You started this debate talking about how America has grown and shifted and Barack Obama is merely mirroring where the country is and I'm pointing out to you that 32 states in this country have supported protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

WILLIAMS: And did you hear what I said about the polls, Michelle, that 50 plus percent of Americans support the idea of gay marriage and this issue is not the wedge it was. In fact, the majority of Republicans now support the idea of gay marriage. So, what you are saying is --

HANNITY: What poll is that, Juan? What poll are you citing?

WILLIAMS: Oh, no. Look, you look at the polls right now.

HANNITY: Which one?

WILLIAMS: You will see -- I'm sorry.

HANNITY: Which one?

WILLIAMS: Oh, Pew has polls out right now. Pew breaks it down in terms of people who strongly favor and favor, I think they had something like 47-42 in favor of gay marriage.

HANNITY: The states were speaking loudly, every single time this issue had been put before the people, what happens?

MALKIN: That's right.

WILLIAMS: Not every time.

MALKIN: Whether its conservative states like Utah and the Mississippi and the Dakotas and North Carolina now, whether it is liberal states like California, and Hawaii, or important swing states like, Florida, Ohio and Michigan.

HANNITY: North Carolina.

MALKIN: That's right. I said that. They all concluded the traditional definition of marriage.

WILLIAMS: Here's the problem with that logic, Michelle.

MALKIN: This is not about Barack Obama reflecting where America is. This is about Barack Obama trying to pander to wealthy gay donors, period.

WILLIAMS: That's not true, if he was pandering, why didn't he do it earlier?

HANNITY: Thanks to Joe Biden. Joe Biden forced him into it.

WILLIAMS: I don't think he wanted to do it now, so I don't know about this pandering.

MALKIN: Where's the leadership and courage there?

HANNITY: Blame Joe Biden for opening his big mouth then.

MALKIN: He is a perpetually pandering creature of political expedience.

WILLIAMS: You've got black Americans who are opposed to.

MALKIN: I feel sorry for you having to defend him, I really do.

WILLIAMS: You got black Americans, you got Hispanics, social conservatives who don't like gay marriage --

MALKIN: Ask black churches how they feel about this, exactly.

WILLIAMS: -- but I don't think it's going to impact the vote in the fall.

HANNITY: We have to go, guys. Thank you both for being with us. Michelle, thank you. And Juan, it's always good to see you.

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