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Romney 'backwards on equality,' Obama says

LOS ANGELES -- President Barack Obama wasted little time casting Republican rival Mitt Romney as "backwards on equality" Thursday, eager to transform his historic embrace of same-sex marriage into donor enthusiasm and grassroots vigor.

Just one day after announcing his support of the top gay-rights issue, Obama was attending a lavish West Coast fundraiser hosted by actor George Clooney in Los Angeles' Studio City area, the heart of celebrity gay-marriage activism.

There, he told major Hollywood donors that his decision is a logical extension of where he believes America ought to be.

Obama addressed about 150 top-dollar supporters Thursday night at Clooney's Tudor-style canyon home.

Obama began his remarks with, "Obviously, yesterday we made some news." That drew the most enthusiastic applause of the evening.

Obama's campaign also released a Web video saying Romney would roll back some rights for same-sex couples.

White House spokesman Jay Carney brushed aside questions about the timing of the attack on Romney, saying Obama and Romney had differed on gay rights even before the president declared his support for same-sex marriage.

"Gov. Romney is for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would enshrine discrimination into our founding legal document," Carney said. "The president thinks that's wrong."

In Seattle, where he was attending two fundraisers, Obama witnessed the support firsthand as his motorcade passed a woman holding an infant and a sign that said: "Thank you! Mr. President for standing up for my mommys!"

He drew big cheers from supporters at Seattle's historic Paramount Theater when he said his vision for a better America applies to everyone, "no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name, no matter who you love." Without referring directly to marriage, Obama expanded on the theme of same-sex equality.

Still, Obama said Vice President Joe Biden got "a little bit over his skis" in publicly embracing gay marriage, forcing Obama to speed up his own plans to announce support for the right of same-sex couples to marry.

"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," Obama said. "But all's well that ends well." Biden apologized to Obama on Wednesday for getting ahead of him, a person familiar with the exchange said.

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