Obama, GOP Eager to Avoid Culture War Over Gay Marriage

Rhetoric quickly returns to business, jobs after gay marriage announcement.

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President Obama and his Republican critics are quickly shifting back to their long-running fight over the economy rather than immersing themselves in a fierce new battle over Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage. It appears that the two sides don't want to get pulled into a culture war over homosexuality when most Americans are far more concerned about pocketbook issues.

Obama's re-election campaign began running two new TV ads in the key swing state of Florida Thursday, and neither of the commercials refers to same-sex unions. One, titled "Succeed," praises Obama's efforts to save the auto industry. The other, "Reverse," says Obama's policies have improved the economy and led to 26 months of private-sector job growth during which more than 4 million jobs were created. "Remember how things were just a few years ago?" the ad says. "Do we really want to reverse course now?"

[GOP Voters Motivated By Obama's Gay Marriage Announcement]

Obama also took issue with Republican challenger Mitt Romney's argument that Romney came up with the idea for a managed bankruptcy for the auto industry. Obama criticized Romney's claim that this is essentially what Obama and Congress did to save U.S. car makers. Obama called it "one of his Etch-A-Sketch moments" and said the auto industry's recovery wouldn't have been possible without billions of dollars in federal help, which Romney opposed. Referring to Romney's claim, Obama told ABC News, "I don't think anybody takes that seriously."

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told Fox Business Network, "I've always believed that marriage was between a man and a woman." But he added: "The Republicans here on Capitol Hill are focused in on the economy. The American people are still asking, 'Where are the jobs?' And our focus is going to continue to be on the economy, like it has been for the last year and a half."

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News digital weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Twitter.

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