What exactly was the punchline when President Obama kidded during an interview released today with Rolling Stone that a pair of pink socks might have to wait to be worn until his second term?
Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner wrote that, "The president even made light of his campaign-season caution. Having complimented me during our last interview on my brightly colored socks, he instantly guessed the gift we had brought him: two pairs of socks, one salmon with pink squares, the other with black and pink stripes. 'These are nice,' the president said. Then he considered the color scheme. 'These may be second-term socks.'"
Fairly or unfairly, a lot has been made of presidential candidates' reactions to the color pink. Mitt Romney was caught on camera joking that he wouldn't dare be seen wearing a pink tie. Rick Santorum was criticized for telling a boy not to use a pink bowling ball.
In this case, "second-term socks" could just be too loudly patterned a fashion choice for someone who wants to appeal to a wide swath of voters.
Romney has regularly suggested that Obama has a secret set of plans for his second-term that he won't explain before the election. And the president has not supported marriage equality, saying he is "evolving" on the issue. Many have hopefully speculated he would change his mind if given a second term.
“He does not want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press,” Romney said in a speech earlier this month.
Wenner asked the president during the interview why he has "shied away from demanding marriage equality for all."
"Are you at least willing to say that you support it on a personal level?" Wenner asked.
But Obama quickly dodged and redirected to his record of accomplishments for the LGBT community.
"I'm not going to make news in this publication," he said. "I've made clear that the issue of fairness and justice and equality for the LGBT community is very important to me. And I haven't just talked about it, I've acted on it."
The president used his game plan on repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" as an example of how he acts on LGBT issues.
"You'll recall that the last time you and I had an interview, we were getting beat up about 'don't ask, don't tell' in the LGBT community," he told Wenner. "There was skepticism: 'Why's it taking so long? Why doesn't he just do it through executive order?' I described very specifically the process we were going to go through to make sure that there was a buy-in from the military, up and down the chain of command, so that it would be executed in an effective way. And lo and behold, here we are, and it got done."
Obama finished his answer with a recounting of some of his accomplishments.
"Ending 'don't ask, don't tell' has been the dog that didn't bark," he said. "You haven't read a single story about problems in our military as a consequence of the ending of the policy. So whether it's on that, or changing the AIDS travel ban, or hospital visitation rights, or a whole slew of regulations that have made sure that federal workers are treated fairly in the workplace, we've shown the commitment that I have to these issues. And we're going to keep on working in very practical ways to make sure that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are treated as what they are — full-fledged members of the American family."