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Biden apologizes to Obama over shotgun comments on gay marriage

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
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Click image to see more photos. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Click image to see more photos. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Vice President Joe Biden apologized to President Barack Obama Wednesday in the Oval Office for jumping the gun on the administration's public embrace of same-sex marriage and forcing his boss's hand, a person knowledgeable about the contrite exchange told Yahoo News on Thursday.

"The vice president expressed remorse, regret," said the individual, who requested anonymity to describe an unusual, private exchange between the buttoned-up Obama and his freewheeling vice president. The president told Biden, the individual said, that he understood Biden's comments on Sunday had come "from the heart."

The source described Obama's response as very similar to his public comments in an interview with ABC News's Robin Roberts, with whom he shared his history-making announcement that he backed the right of gay couples to marry.

"He probably got out a little over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit," Obama told ABC. "Would I have preferred to have done this in my own way on my own terms without, I think, there being a lot of notice to everybody? Of course. But all's well that ends well."

Biden told "Meet The Press" on Sunday that he was "absolutely comfortable" with married same-sex couples, comments that at first triggered an avalanche of denials from top Obama aides that the vice president had made any change whatsoever to the president's official position (opposed, but "evolving"), followed days later by claims that the president had always meant to come out on the side of gay marriage.

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Asked about the vice president's apology, Biden spokesperson Kendra Barkoff told Yahoo News: "The president has been the leader on this issue from day one, and the vice president never intended to distract from that."

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