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A man carries a sign during Long Beach's Gay Pride parade in 2012 of Newsweek's cover declaring Obama "the first gay president." Juan Camilo Bernal /

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 11, 2015 ( – President Barack Obama is denying an account by a close adviser that he lied about his views on gay “marriage” to get elected president in 2008. In an interview yesterday, Obama said he didn't lie; it's just that he was misunderstood.

However, Obama admitted he supported government-enforced recognition of homosexuality, and “it was frustrating to me” that he had to “square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”

Obama's close campaign operative and senior adviser David Axelrod wrote that Obama always favored redefining marriage but lied about it in order not to alienate black pastors and voters in North Carolina.

Obama strongly supported same-sex “marriage” in his 1996 run for Illinois state Senate, responding to a questionnaire by saying, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

But he changed his stance, because “oposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church,” Axelrod wrote in his new memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

By 2004, when he ran for U.S. Senate against Alan Keyes, Obama said, “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

He maintained his public opposition to gay “marriage” – and backing of civil unions – through the 2008 campaign. But Axelrod wrote that he did so because his campaign manager, Jim Messina, warned that swing state North Carolina would not elect a candidate who favored redefining marriage.

Axelrod wrote that he had “no doubt” that Obama had stated his “heartfelt belief” in the 1996 campaign, and that Obama's noises, beginning in late 2010, that his attitudes might “evolve” on gay “marriage” was a purely calculated political stance.

“If Obama’s views were 'evolving' publicly, they were fully evolved behind closed doors,” Axelrod wrote. “The president was champing at the bit to announce his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed.”

In an interview yesterday, Obama said that Axelrod got it all wrong. He never lied.

“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” he told Ben Smith of BuzzFeed. “I think the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate.”

“I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there,” he said.

He said that he felt civil unions his way of “squaring the circle.”

While his campaign previously claimed that someone else wrote the 1996 statement on behalf of redefining marriage, Obama apparently did not make that claim in the interview. Instead, he told Smith that “the old questionnaire…is an example of struggling with what was a real issue at the time, which is, how do you make sure that people’s rights are enjoyed and these religious sensitivities were taken into account?”

Obama's revolving rhetorical reality has alarmed many. The Huffington Post counted 16 separate times that Obama or his administration lied to the American people about his position on same-sex “marriage” – often claiming his opposition was built upon his strong Christian faith.

That point bolsters critics, who say Obama's references to religion are a political ploy. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of The Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND), a strong voice for traditional values in the black community, told LifeSiteNews, “A lot of Christians wouldn’t vote for him if they didn’t think he was a Christian.”

But if Obama's views have changed, has his faith changed, too? Columnist David Harsanyi wondered why no one in the media asked about this apparent contradiction in 2010. “Why doesn’t someone ask Obama what’s changed about his Christianity that brought about this evolution?” he asked. “What’s clear is that Obama isn’t shy about pulling in religion when it suits his political needs. Christianity is a means of bolstering progressive ideals.”

Writer Dan Calabrese blamed mainstream media bias, especially on social issues. “Why won't the media ask him about it? Two reasons.”

“1. They already know the answer. He lied to fool people like black pastors into getting out the vote for him,” he wrote. “2. They don't see anything wrong with it. They think it's the job of black pastors to support Democrats and not to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so if they stubbornly insist on doing the latter at the expense of the former, then they deserve to be lied to.” (Emphasis in original.)