There has been a lot of discussion about Obama's announcement that he was comfortable with marriage equality. Some think it will cost him votes in key battleground states like Ohio. That may be true but I'm not so sure. It could be a brilliant move.
Obama's announcement has been received enthusiastically by key supporters such as gays and youth. His decision further energizes his base and, given Romney's response, provides a clear distinction between old, backward-looking, exclusionary Republican policies and a modern, dynamic, forward-looking, open, expansionist Democratic policies.
Additionally, like abortion, women's rights and a host of other social issues, Obama has placed himself and the Democratic Party on the right side of history. More importantly for the 2012 election, Obama has diverted news coverage from the economy to the issue of marriage equality. That may be the type of discussion extremist, right-wing social conservatives want to have, but it is definitely NOT a topic that fits with Romney's strategy. Romney wants to talk about the economy and nothing else. Any time spent on discussing social issues takes him off message. That's good for Obama.
So, Obama did the right thing--for the Democratic Party, for the country, and his re-election prospects. Smart move.