lead intv david axelrod senior adviser obama_00000125.jpg
lead intv david axelrod senior adviser obama_00000125.jpg
Now playing
02:30
Axelrod: Obama hid position on gay marriage in 2008
scotus same sex marriage decision celebration todd nr _00020518.jpg
scotus same sex marriage decision celebration todd nr _00020518.jpg
Now playing
02:10
Same-sex marriage celebrated on Supreme Court steps
Jim Obergefell speaking on steps of Supreme Court
Jim Obergefell speaking on steps of Supreme Court
Now playing
01:51
Plaintiff: Our love is equal
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: Supporters for and against gay marriage gather in front of the Supreme Court Building June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court is expected rule in the next few days on whether states can prohibit same sex marriage, as 13 states currently do. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: Supporters for and against gay marriage gather in front of the Supreme Court Building June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court is expected rule in the next few days on whether states can prohibit same sex marriage, as 13 states currently do. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:20
U.S. 21st country to allow same-sex marriage nationwide
kentucky clerk kim davis appeal dnt casarez lead_00000307.jpg
WKYT
kentucky clerk kim davis appeal dnt casarez lead_00000307.jpg
Now playing
02:12
Supporters gather in solidarity for Kentucky clerk
history of gay rights movement cooper dnt ac_00022216.jpg
history of gay rights movement cooper dnt ac_00022216.jpg
Now playing
04:15
What you need to know about the gay rights movement
WLEX
Now playing
01:22
Attorney: Kim Davis 'has no intention' of resigning
kentucky gay marriage clerk counsel lead intv_00020630.jpg
kentucky gay marriage clerk counsel lead intv_00020630.jpg
Now playing
03:18
Counsel: Ky. clerk wants her name off marriage license
kim davis marriage license contempt hearing ATH_00011020.jpg
Getty Images
kim davis marriage license contempt hearing ATH_00011020.jpg
Now playing
01:26
Santorum: Kim Davis is heroic
kim davis marriage license contempt hearing ATH_00011301.jpg
Getty Images
kim davis marriage license contempt hearing ATH_00011301.jpg
Now playing
01:24
Kentucky clerk in court over marriage license refusal
heated confrontation clerk denying marriage licenses kentucky pkg_00003430.jpg
WKYT
heated confrontation clerk denying marriage licenses kentucky pkg_00003430.jpg
Now playing
00:58
Heated confrontation with clerk denying marriage licenses
Courtesy David Moore
Now playing
01:09
Clerk defies judge, denies men marriage license
texas county clerk same sex marriages nobles dnt ac_00002409.jpg
texas county clerk same sex marriages nobles dnt ac_00002409.jpg
Now playing
02:05
Texas-sized battle over same-sex marriage
same-sex marriage what's next supreme court jeffrey toobin orig_00004124.jpg
same-sex marriage what's next supreme court jeffrey toobin orig_00004124.jpg
Now playing
01:49
What's next for same-sex marriage?
same sex marriage opposition tapper dnt lead _00005329.jpg
same sex marriage opposition tapper dnt lead _00005329.jpg
Now playing
03:18
Texas counties refuse marriage license for gay couples
jim obergefell president obama phone call same-sex marriage_00002414.jpg
jim obergefell president obama phone call same-sex marriage_00002414.jpg
Now playing
01:35
Obama calls same-sex marriage case plaintiff on live TV
same sex marriage obama supreme court decision_00015614.jpg
same sex marriage obama supreme court decision_00015614.jpg
Now playing
02:54
Obama: We've made our union a little more equal
Supporters of same-sex marriages gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court waiting for its decision on April 28, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
Supporters of same-sex marriages gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court waiting for its decision on April 28, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Now playing
01:06
Supreme Court: Same-sex marriage legal nationwide
(CNN) —  

President Barack Obama insisted Tuesday that his former top political aide David Axelrod’s got it wrong when it comes to Obama’s position on same-sex marriage and whether it changed over time.

Axelrod wrote in his book published earlier Tuesday that Obama lied about his position on the issue for the sake of political expediency, writing that Obama had actually supported gay marriage for years. In coming out in support of same-sex couples’ right to marry in May 2012, Obama had cited “the evolution that I went through.”

“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”

Obama had previously supported civil unions for gay couples and explained Tuesday that he used to think that was “a sufficient way of squaring the circle.” But eventually, he told Buzzfeed on Tuesday, Obama changed his political position because of “the pain and the sense of stigma that was being placed on same-sex couples who are friends” of his.

But in his book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Poltics,” Axelrod suggests politics played a bigger role in Obama’s public position on the issue throughout his first presidential campaign and into the first term of his presidency.

“Gay marriage was a particularly nagging issue. For as long as we had been working together, Obama had felt a tug between his personal views and the politics of gay marriage,” Axelrod writes. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union.’”

And Axelrod recalled that Obama said he just didn’t “feel my marriage is somehow threatened by the gay couple next door.”

It was just one example of the “recurring tension between Obama the idealist and Obama the politician,” Axelrod wrote.

“Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position,” Axelrod writes. “He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews. ‘I’m just not very good at bulls—ting,’ he said with a sigh after one such awkward exchange.”

Axelrod also cited a questionnaire from 1996 previously cited in news reports as evidence of Obama’s longtime support for gay marriage.

While running for his first term in the Illinois State Senate, Obama signed a questionnaire in which he answered that he “favored legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” The questionnaire came to light in 2009, days before Obama’s inauguration.

“I had no doubt that this was his heartfelt belief,” Axelrod said of the questionnaire. “He also knew his view was way out in front of the public’s.”

But Obama insisted Tuesday that “the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se [for gay couples] isn’t quite accurate.”

“The old questionnaire,” Obama said in the interview, “is an example of struggling with what was a real issue at the time, which is, how do you make sure that people’s rights are enjoyed and these religious sensitivities were taken into account?”

Predicting Supreme Court victory for gay marriage

What is clear now is that Obama now wholly supports same-sex marriage, and he’s predicting the Supreme Court will legalize gay marriage – now allowed in 37 states – once and for all this year.

Obama’s comments come after the nation’s high court refused to grant temporary delays to states that have had their laws restricting marriage to one man and one woman invalidated, sending a signal that justices are leaning in favor of allowing gay marriage in a ruling expected this June.

“My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that – having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage – it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system,” Obama said in the BuzzFeed News interview.

“It’s time to recognize that under the equal protection clause of the United States [Constitution], same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else,” he said.