North America 9 May 2012 Obama on gay marriage, Al Green, and why America is not post-racial Four key points from the president's interview with <em>Rolling Stone</em>. Print HTML Are things turning around for Barack Obama? Perhaps it is too early to tell, but the president’s long interview in last week’s Rolling Stone has caused quite a stir. Part of his attempt to re-energise the young voters who were such a fundamental part of his 2008 victory, the interview touches on racial politics, Mitt Romney, gay marriage and – of course – Al Green. Here are four key areas covered. To read the rest of the very wide-ranging interview, visit Rolling Stone. Race Asked whether race relations in America are different now to when he took office in 2008, Obama is unequivocal: I never bought into the notion that by electing me, somehow we were entering into a post-racial period. However, he suggests that having an African-American president is not just inspiring for black boys and girls, but is “changing attitudes” for white children who will take it for granted that there is an African-American in the White House. Mitt Romney While Obama is hesitant about bad-mouthing his opponent, it is clear from the interview that he plans to cast Romney as an extreme conservative, based on positions that he took during the primary race: I don't think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, "Everything I've said for the last six months, I didn't mean." I'm assuming that he meant it. When you're running for president, people are paying attention to what you're saying. Gay marriage Asked about his personal opinions of same-sex marriage, Obama is stern, saying “I'm not going to make news in this publication”. Instead of answering the question, he circumvents it by talking about his work on ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the US military, ending with: And we're going to keep on working in very practical ways to make sure that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are treated as what they are – full-fledged members of the American family. This rather evasive answer has had US bloggers up in arms: is Obama a coded endorsement, or simply an attempt by a skilful politician to avoid alienating those on either side of the debate? Al Green Some have said that it was the moment that the election began to look winnable for Obama once again: when he sang Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theatre, after arriving late to a fundraiser and missing the singer’s set. The president says he had no hesitation: I can sing. I wasn't worried about being able to hit those notes. He added: The only problem with my Apollo performance is that everywhere I go now, somebody wants me to sing. My whole point is that the fewer the performances, the higher the ticket price, so you don't want to overdo it. › Rain hurts retail, quality of puns. “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green has become Obama's signature song Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman. From only £1 a week Subscribe More Related articles Margaret Atwood on how an inspired polymath resurrected Native America’s epics The last British Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer will be released When should you start caring about the US presidential election?