POSTED: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 4:45pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 4:49pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — President Obama headed to the west coast for three fundraisers Thursday, one hosted by actor George Clooney.
The president's decision to back same-sex marriage is sure to get a warm reception and help raise millions in campaign cash.
His election website is trumpeting his surprise announcement.
Democrats deny it was political, but claim it reveals the president's character to voters.
"Who he is, what he stands for, what he believes, what he thinks is right for America, our families, our values," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Mitt Romney plans to make gay marriage more of an issue.
"He believes marriage should be between a man and a woman," said campaign adviser Ed Gillespie. "That was President Obama's decision up until obviously 24 hours ago, and now this will be another bright line difference in this campaign."
House Speaker John Boehner claimed he doesn't want a fight over marriage.
"The President can talk about it all he wants, I'm going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on, and that's jobs."
Still, Boehner allowed a house vote to support the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as heterosexual.
Will it have an impact on the election?
"I don't think so," says USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page. "This is a campaign that is going to be won and lost and waged on the economy."
Both sides believe only a small number of voters will decide based on the marriage issue.