Biden apologized to Obama over same-sex marriage comments

President Obama and Vice President Biden over rainbow flag
CBS/AP
President Obama and Vice President Biden over rainbow flag
CBS/AP

(CBS News) Vice President Joe Biden walked into the Oval Office and apologized to President Obama a few hours before the president announced that he supports same-sex marriage yesterday, sources familiar with the conversation confirmed to CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell.

The sources said the president expressed that he understood Biden's comments came from the heart.

On Sunday, Biden said he was "absolutely comfortable" with the prospect of people of the same gender getting married. At the time, Mr. Obama's official position on same-sex marriage was that he opposed it, though he was "evolving" on the issue. Biden's comments generated headlines and prompted a fevered damage control effort by the White House and Obama campaign, which insisted that Biden had not broken with the president.

Mr. Obama told ABC News that before Biden's comments, he had "already made a decision that we were going to take this position before the election and before the convention." But the vice president's remarks seem to have moved up the timetable. A Democratic source told CBS Newsthat the president had intended to announce his support for same-sex marriage on ABC's "The View" next Monday.

Instead, Mr. Obama made the announcement Wednesday in a hastily-arranged interview. The decision to move forward the timetable may have been tied to the fallout from Biden's comments:According to a source in the fundraising community , the damage control effort in the wake of his statement seriously angered the gay donors and bundlers the president is counting on to fund his super PAC and campaign.

"The President has been the leader on this issue from day one and the Vice President never intended to distract from that," Biden press secretary Kendra Barkoff told CBS News.

Asked if he was upset with Biden, the president told ABC News that the vice president "got out a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit."

"Would I have preferred to have done this in my own way in my own terms without I think there being a lot of notice to everybody? Sure, but all's well that ends well," Mr. Obama said.

The New York Times, which first reported the apology, reported that while the president may not have been mad at the vice president, his comments "enraged Mr. Obama's senior advisers in the White House and on the campaign."

The vice president has not made public comments about same-sex marriage since his remarks on Sunday

.