By Amie Parnes - 05/07/12 03:26 PM EDT
Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod on Monday pivoted sharply to Mitt Romney's views on gay marriage when reporters pressed him on the president's stance on the issue.
On a conference call with reporters, Axelrod said there's a "clear distinction" between Obama's views on gay-rights issues and the presumptive GOP nominee's views.
In turning to Romney, Axelrod ducked a question from a reporter on whether Obama supports gay marriage.
The president's campaign team is getting the questions in the wake of Vice President Biden's weekend comments that he was "absolutely comfortable" with men marrying men and women marrying women.
Those remarks went further than the president has gone in endorsing gay marriage, though for the second day in a row, the senior strategist also maintained that Biden's position — which he stated on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday — is "entirely consistent" with Obama's viewpoint that "couples who are married are entitled to the very same rights and the very same liberties."
"When people are married, we ought to recognize those marriages," Axelrod said.
In the past, Obama has said that he is opposed to gay marriage but that his views are "evolving." The position has angered gay-rights activists, who have been wanting Obama to commit wholeheartedly to supporting gay marriage.
The debate continued to intensify on Monday morning after Secretary of Education Arne DuncanArne DuncanProposed Department of Education rule runs counter to ESSA's restrictions In search of the surest Common Core exit route The opt-out movement and the coddling epidemic MORE also said he thought same-sex couples should be allowed to wed legally.
"Yes, I do," Duncan said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
Asked if he had acknowledged that publicly before, Duncan said, "I don't think I've ever been asked publicly"