In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Netroots Challenge White House Spokesman on Gay Rights

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Pfeiffer turned on the spin machine more than once, leaving the audience upset and Gray to respond with a sarcastic, "really?" face.

But Pfeiffer showed signs of trying to heal rifts with the Netroots community as well. "You'll note I never used that phrase [professional left]," he said, distancing himself from attacks on liberal critics that have been part of Obama communications shops of old.

Here's a good example of what it sounded like -- and the dilemma faced by the Netroots crowd when it comes to Obama. Gray hit Pfeiffer with some tough questions about gay rights, prompting a lively back-and-forth that delved into "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," DOMA and Obama's shifting positions on gay marriage.

"This president has been the most progressive president on these issues we've ever had--" Pfeiffer began.

Gray cut him off.

"Well, that's a pretty low bar," she said.

It was a satisfying line of attack for progressives smarting over the slow advance of gay rights in America. But Pfeiffer was able to deflect it with one simple line:

"I would not begrudge a single person who feels strongly about this for being upset with the president about it," Pfeiffer said. "But what I can promise you is, if someone else is president, all the other things I talked about [DADT, same-sex partner benefits, etc] are all going to go away."

Late update: Here's video of the session: