Clay Aiken: My Campaign Isn't Downplaying My Support for Gay Marriage

Image: Clay Aiken: My Campaign Isn't Downplaying My Support for Gay Marriage

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 09:06 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Clay Aiken appears to be shying away from same-sex marriage in his bid for North Carolina's Second Congressional District.

In an interview with NBC "Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday, the openly gay candidate was posed this question: "You've been open about your own status and you have criticized North Carolina's ban on gay marriage in the past . . . It seems you're downplaying this in this particular campaign. Is that a fair assessment?"

"I don't know that we're necessarily particularly specifically downplaying anything," Aiken responded. "You know, we're up-playing the things that are affecting peoples' lives . . . We're talking about the things that are affecting peoples' lives and that's not necessarily one of them."

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Aiken's response to NBC News echoes a statement the pop star turned politician made in a prior interview with The Huffington Post earlier in the week, telling the left-leaning news site, "It's not why I'm in this race," referring to same-sex marriage.

Guthrie also asked Aiken how he thinks he can overcome the district's conservative-leaning voters. In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received 58 percent of the vote in that district, while President Barack Obama garnered just 41 percent.

"I’m not na├»ve to that fact that this is a challenge that I have to overcome," Aiken said. "It's a mountain to climb but we’ve had quite a bit of success thus far in the past three months in climbing it."

"People are tired of partisan politics," he added. "People at home, they don’t talk about party, they talk about the things that are important to them."

The former "American Idol" contestant, who went on to nearly win Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice," has had his celebrity status used against him by his Republican opponent, Rep. Renee Ellmers, who is running for her third term in the conservative North Carolina congressional seat, noted.

"Apparently his performing career isn't going well and he's bored," Ellmers said following Aiken's primary win earlier in May, Guthrie noted.

When asked by Guthrie what was more difficult, politics or show business, the 35-year-old Congressional hopeful responded, "politics."

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