Should the Scouts be open to gays? It's a clear-cut issue for the President. "Yes," he said during his pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS's Scott Pelley. When asked to expand on his answer, Obama said equality trumps all. "Gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same as anybody else," he said. After years of internal strife, word arrived last week that the national Boy Scouts of America organization might change its long-held ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders, leaving the decision to local chapters — the Scouts board is scheduled to announce its decision on the matter tomorrow. Others politicians such as former Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry have, uh, come out against the reversal. Who would you rather listen to?
The President also seized the Super Bowl audience to preview where he's going next on the budget fight. "I don't think the issue is raising rates," Obama told Pelley. The President focused on trying to close has many loopholes as possible and getting rid of deductions for the rich. "There is no doubt we need additional revenue coupled with smart spending reductions," he said. Combining spending cuts and smart investing makes the most sense, he went on, without ruling out raising rates. "The average person doesn't have access to Cayman Island accounts."
Pelley also asked if Obama has any hesitation about women serving in combat. "You know, I don't," Obama said. "Women are serving, they are taking great risks, and we should not prevent them from advancing." Reacting to the reaction about whether women are "strong" or "fit" enough to serve now that the Pentagon has lifted its own ban, Obama said there was a member of his team who served in some capacity (he didn't elaborate) who is small, and doesn't weigh much. She doesn't look like a quote-unquote "soldier." But Obama said she can do just as much as any man in their office, and more.
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Pelley and Obama also, you know, talked about football. Pelley focused on the issue of player safety. "As I said before, I'd have to think about it," the President said. Obama told The New Republic that he would think twice before letting his (theoretical) son start playing football, because of the dangers of the game. "I want to make sure we're doing everything we can to make the sport safer," he said on Sunday. Obama cited what we know about the effects concussions are having on retired players as a reason to "give parents pause" before letting their kids start playing. But it could be different in the future. While separating the "grown men" of the NFL from lower levels of the sports such as Pop Warner, Obama acknowledged that "the game is probably going to evolve a little bit" as we learn more about the effects of head injuries. Big hits and the "rock 'em sock 'em" part of the game might have to change first, though.
And then, it was time to go. "I've got some wings to go eat," the President said.
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