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Show Review: Obama on Family and Gay Marriage on Ellen DeGeneres October 29, 2007

Posted by emsgeiss in parenting & family, politics.
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I was supposed to be working. Actually I was, doing a final edit of chapter three of my book before sending the chapter off to my publisher, but the house was too quiet with my son at grandma’s, and I turned on the TV for some “background noise.” Who should I see, but Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the first guest on today’s Ellen DeGeneres Show, cutting a rug? A still undecided voter, I had to watch. As he danced out from the green room, he punched the pink punching bag Ellen has set up in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month for which each punch donates $800 to the Susan G. Komen foundation. As Obama showed off his dance moves with DeGeneres, I thought “well at least we know that if he gets elected, there’ll be some rhythm at the inaugural ball.”

But on to more serious things. During the segment, Sen. Obama spoke about several things including on being related to Dick Cheney, on family and on gay marriage. Regarding the recent news about the Obama-Cheney bloodline, Obama described having blood ties to Cheney as showing how diverse we really are. He described in brief, his own diversity and used it as an example of what he hopes is “one of the talents that [he] bring[s] to politics…getting people to recognize themselves in each other and work together.”

When Obama was speaking about family, I was all ears. When Ellen asked him about how he balances family and campaigning, especially being away from his family a lot, the senator said that it’s important to him to make it through campaigning without having his wife and kids forgetting who he is during the process.

Ellen then got direct, asking about his views on gay marriage. In response, he said that he believes states should recognize same-sex unions and set up the same rights for them as they have for married couples, and that not giving them the same rights is unfair. As for the question of marriage, he thinks the acceptance of same-sex marriage is up to the religious institutions to which same-sex couples belong.

A lucky viewer got to be the recipient of a call from the senator on the show, and her question for him turned the topic back to the issue of family. When asked about being a senator and the prospect of becoming president, how he would balance his work and family life, his response was clear. He said that it was something he and his wife Michelle talked about before he embarked on the campaign. As for running, the goal was not to uproot the family, so they stayed back in Chicago, where his daughters could continue attending their school and be with their friends, and in reference to the White House, that “he hears that when you become president, they offer you some kind of public housing.” He described his wife as being clear with him about the family-political career balance, telling him “if you can’t do a good job as a father, it’s hard to talk about families and to do a good job for [your constituents] as well.” (As a political wife myself, I know that Michelle is right.)

I’m glad that what I turned on for background noise turned out to be anything but—and it gave me a way to turn a brief distraction into something useful. Okay Mr. Obama, so far, I’m listening. I hope that you listen to your wife, because we’ll be watching you to see how you fare on your promises and policies for families and children.

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