Mark Walsh Works For Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

Senator Hillary Clinton likes to paint herself as an experienced Washington political warrior, and definitely looked for the same in her staff. That said, National Director of LGBT Outreach Mark Walsh may be the best gay for the campaign’s queer needs.

Though a lawyer by training, Walsh has devoted much of his adult life to getting the gay into Washington. He’s worked with former Congressman Marty Meehan, who stepped down last year after taking a hard line against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Walsh’s experience extends beyond the standard inner corridors. For example, the Massachusetts resident has worked with the gay marriage movement, as well as the Bay State’s AIDS Action Committee. Walsh and his partner, who co-own an event production company, also coordinated all of the Democratic National Convention’s 2004 happenings in Boston.

And, like so many other seasoned pink politicos, Walsh has sat on the Human Rights Campaign’s board, which no doubt came in handy in the early days of Clinton’s campaign, when the former First Lady spoke at the non-profit’s equality convention.

Yes, Walsh has proved invaluable as Clinton’s LGBT outreach coordinator. He’s also a pro at dealing with the press, deferring our editor’s potentially controversial questions to the campaign’s other branches.

For example, after the actual interview, Andrew Belonsky asked repeatedly for a comment on Clinton’s suggestion that Barack Obama be her vice-president. Belonsky couldn’t help but wonder where Walsh stood on this discussion, especially considering Obama’s public rejection of Clinton’s veep talk. Belonsky reminded Walsh that Obama leads with states and delegates, and wondered if Clinton’s suggestion amounted to “classic Clinton spin”. Walsh had “no comment to add”.

It’s not unusual for a campaign staffer to skirt questions, of course. And don’t get us wrong, Walsh offers plenty of interesting tidbits, like whether or not gay endorsements matter, how Clinton’s been fighting the gay fight for years and why we need a Democratic president.

Andrew Belonsky: Can you give us a little background on why the Senator is your choice for the presidency?

Mark Walsh: I’m just coming over my one year anniversary working for Hillary Clinton as her national director of LGBT communication.

AB: So you’re on staff?

MW: It’s a staffed position, yes. When she announced her presidency, I was on staff within a month. To me, that was really an indication that Hillary Clinton really wanted to reach out to the LGBT community and make them part of the coalition that she’s trying to build in her campaign. She’s been fighting for our community for quite a long time. When I was thinking about taking this job, I talked with several folks and leaders of the national organizations to figure out what they thought of the candidates and certainly the Democrats in this race – all of them who have been in this race – are light years ahead of where the Republican party and John McCain are on the issues.

We’re really fortunate to have great candidates, but Hillary Clinton’s really the one who’s rolled up her sleeves and done the hard work on behalf of our community. I can give you an example: when she was Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee back in 2006 and as the head of that community, she was the one who worked really closely with our groups, like the Human Rights Campaign, to develop smart strategies to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment.

AB: Are you ever in communication with the Obama campaign, either during the campaign or prior? Do you know those people that work for Obama?

MW: I do know – actually last week in Texas, Tobias Wolff, he and I debated both in Houston and in Dallas in front of the Stonewall Democratic groups there. They sponsored debates with the two of us. Stampp Corbin, who I know is an advisor to Senator Obama, he and I go way back. I probably got to know him fifteen years ago, but I haven’t really had any relationship with him over the years.

AB: The Stonewall Democrats’ branches in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio endorsed Hillary Clinton. How useful are these endorsements? Do you think these endorsements are more useful for organizational purposes – these individuals can go out and help rally voters or do you think there’s actual psychological value? If a gay voter in Dallas hears that his or her local Stonewall Democrat branch has endorsed a senator?

MW: I think it has both effects. Number one, for LGBT voters to be able to say, “Look, our local political group endorsed a particular candidate”. I think that says to them that this candidate has been vetted and is with us on the issues. And, in addition to that, they can make a big difference. They can be a big help. Let me give you an example of this, in Dallas – it’s hard to really identify LGBT voters, because it’s not always asked in the exit polls, so it’s a little bit hard to identify that, but I can tell you that in the six heavily LGBT precincts in Dallas, they went Clinton-Obama 56-43. As far as the turnout, the turnout in those particular areas was 36% of registered voters where it was only 27% in Dallas county in total, so I’ve got to think that the hard work of the Stonewall Democrats and all the LGBT voters that were activists in that community really helped us. This is the kind of hard work that our community needs to be doing. If our issues are going to move forward, we need to be part of the political process. This kind of hard work is part of the political process.

AB: I’d like to talk about Samantha Power, who I’m sure you know was a volunteer for Barack Obama’s campaign and resigned last week after referring to your candidate as “monster” in an interview with The Scotsman

MW: I can certainly get you information on our official stance on Samantha Power. I swim in my lane, quite frankly, and I’m glad to talk to you about LGBT issues and the Senator’s stance and her outreach and what she’s done, but when it comes to Samantha Power, I just don’t want to answer questions on that. Certainly I can steer you off to our press folks to talk about that, but I know she has left the campaign, Senator Obama’s campaign, she’s resigned, but I don’t really want to comment on that.

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  • Charley

    I am for Obama, but if his 1578 delegates suddenly drop dead of the bubonic plague, (not likely to happen) I will support Hillary with only 1468 delegates.

  • slacker chic

    oh i am hoping upon hope that Hil wins. i get so effing sick of everyone asking if i support her bc she is a woman, or bc i really believe in her issues. wtf is that about? They don’t ask men “do you support him bc he is a man, or bc you believe in him?” Like i would vote for her like a mindless drone robot just bc she is a woman. Ugh.

  • ChristopherM

    The fact that the head of her LGBT outreach was on the board of the HRC says it all.

  • M Shane

    Several items, (1) with regards to Samantha Powers, he was careful not to say that she had grossly overreacted. He’s Irish and anyone familiar with the culture’s proclivirty foroverstatement and hyperbole knows that Powers reference to Hilary in her own area as a “monster” was extremely harmless simply because it was so exagerated.. Hillary ,in fact made a fool (no overstatement) of herself, showing her own lack of humor and naivete’ He would know that . Obama was no better cast in accepting her resignation. She’s a Harvard prof and a Pulitzer prize winning author, condemning the whole affair as being very much based on ignorance. Hillary turned around and wrote an article actually saying that Powers literally looked like the Loch Ness monster. I guess that that showed how vicious and low she is. Walsh was probably embarassed by her ignorance and meanness,
    (2) I have to congratulate you on your clever interviewing skills, Andrew, in asking about the Obama adds vs. Clinton’s closet approaches.

    Clearly, Clinton, by keeping her contact with the LGBT community undercovers and out of public view, shows her reluctance to taking a public stake in us(in the closet). Obama, on the contrary, has chosen on different occasions to make his affirmations public,.
    Her approach is secretive and uncommital: an attempt not to be associated with queers.

  • M Shane

    p.s. I’m sure that Powers quit out of disust with the ignorance of the whole bunch. I wouldn’t blame her, she’s an educated person.

  • Michael Bedwell

    “Hillary turned around and wrote an article actually saying that Powers literally looked like the Loch Ness monster.” How the fuck did you pull that out of your ass, M Shane??????

    AND “Clinton, by keeping her contact with the LGBT community undercovers and out of public view … Her approach is secretive and uncommital…”??????????

    Mary, your brains are so fried on Tina or Hillary Haterade that you didn’t even read Queerty’s caption of the picture on the 2nd page of the interview: “We’ll never get tired of this snap of Hillary Clinton’s last gay pride march.”

    “Mrs. Clinton, who happened to be behind a group called the Radical Faeries, which featured a man on skates who wore nothing but a silver cape, a tiara and a jockstrap, was so popular the police had difficulty controlling the crowd.” – New York Times

    Here are some other pix demonstrating her support for LGBTs IN THE SUNSHINE for the WHOLE WORLD to see, including when she was still FIRST LADY of the United States. Seen any pix of Obama doing that lately? He wouldn’t even be photographed with SF Mayor Gavin Newsom after Newsom raised money for his US Senate campaign because he was afraid Newsom’s identification with gay marriage equality would hurt him!!!!!!!!!

    But the Hill you love to hate:

  • Sick of Hil

    The fact that gay folk continue to support Clinton is sick, sick, sick. How many times do you want to get thrown under the bus? Wake up already…

  • Jake in Woodland Heights

    Obama is clearly the better candidate for the LGBT community. A full repeal of DOMA, in the IL Senate he sponsored and passed legislations that was trans-inclusive, and he has spoken of his willingness to use the Presidency as bully pulpit to push for legislation that will protect LGBT adoption and other laws important to LGBT families.

  • Jake in Woodland Heights

    Obama is clearly the better candidate for the LGBT community. A full repeal of DOMA, in the IL Senate he sponsored and passed legislation that was trans-inclusive, and he has spoken of his willingness to use the Presidency as bully pulpit to push for legislation that will protect LGBT adoption and other laws important to LGBT families.

  • Michael Bedwell

    Sorry Jake but you’ve drunk the Kool Aide. Obama LIED. He did NOT sponsor let alone pass the gay rights bill in Illinois. He COsponsored earlier similar versions that died in committee but he was too busy running for US Senate to take the few seconds it would have taken to sign his name to the bill that passed. Just because you were once on the team that goes on to win the championship why should you get credit for that win?

    The claim that he “passed” it is even more insulting. When it was voted on he wasn’t even IN the Illinois Senate anymore. But then he’s also, according to the NY Times, told people he passed a bill in Illinois regulating the nuclear industry when that bill didn’t PASS AT ALL.

    Full repeal of DOMA is meaningless. A political hat trick. Section 2 of DOMA according to his own adviser is legally meaningless and “Same-sex couples … are neither better nor worse off with DOMA repealed” And Obama would STILL support a state’s right to deny marriage equality even without DOMA. See for yourself how you’ve been played at

  • Mr C

    Hey Michael,

    It doesn’t matter about Hillary, or Obama. Once again none of you really is getting the BIG picture in reference to DADT, DOMA, and ENDA. Obama, nor Clinton can do SHIT about that. That is left up to the Senate, and the House of Representatives and if they say NO it’s NO.

    So thinking Hillary is some DAMN savior that coming to take her Gay children to glory. Keep thinking that. As we Obama supporters are drinking the Kool Aid as some Hillary supporters say. You’ve been fed Clinton sominex and your still in dreamland.

    You all just happy because she will give an interview to a blade publication, and March with the girls in some ol’ BULLSHIT Pride parade!


    Her only REAL accomplishments and agenda to make HISTORY is this:

    1) Was a first lady in Arkansas in 14 yrs
    2) Was the first lady of the U.S for 8 yrs
    3) Is a current U.S Senator now in her 2nd term
    4) And is looking to be the First Female President of the United States of America

    And she is going to have you guys and gals help her reach her goal while paying yours NO MIND!


  • M Shane

    Until I read a story by my brother who lived in Rwanda just before the genocide I didn’t realize why it was that Hillary hated sam Powers so much: She won a Pulitzer Prize for recording for the world the Clinton Administration’s support of the genocide of over 800,000 TuTu’s over 100 days by the Hutu majority. They even blocked UN efforts to do anything.
    Think she cares about gays; be careful.
    BTW. M Bid. In shame apparently Clinton has removed her article (I think in the Observer, but it seems to have been conveniently been removed from the net subsequentty because it was so tacky. She had a picture of Ms. powers next to a dinosaur., Just as bitchy as can be.

    My curiousity with this is that I have been relatively removed from judgement, but Clintom really takes the cake for nastyness: presumablty that’s one of her redeeming qualities..

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