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This openly gay Dem candidate predicts the 2020 GOP presidential nominee will back gay marriage

Welcome back to Five Questions!

Today, meet Mark Levine, Democratic candidate for U.S. House in Virginia's 8th district. Part of a field of 10 Democrats trying to succeed retiring Rep. James P. Moran (D), Levine is an openly gay radio show host who used to work for Barney Frank. He bills himself as the "aggressive progressive."

Below is video of our discussion as well as a transcript edited for brevity and clarity.

Democratic congressional candidate for Virginia's 8th district answers questions about his his nickname, his former boss Barney Frank, and if gay marriage will get federal support by 2016. (Theresa Poulson/The Washington Post)


1. Tell us the origin of the nickname "aggressive progressive."

I think the first time I heard it, I was working for Barney Frank. He, of course, is very aggressive, and people saw me going around and arguing that George W. Bush's faith-based initiative allowed religious discrimination. And I think I remember someone saying something about me being the aggressive progressive. But really, it started being used when I started coming on TV, and I would go on Fox News and pull out my Constitution and remind Bill O'Reilly about all the parts in it that he didn't want to think about.

2. Tell us one thing we don't know about Barney Frank.

I think people only saw the aggressive part of Barney Frank, and they didn't see that he was a really good dealmaker behind the scenes. We did a lot of work in private, and we did a lot of work with Republicans in private.

3. You went to both Harvard and Yale. Which was more difficult?

Yale Law School was more fun. It was definitely a better place to study. It was much smaller. They treated you personally rather than more faceless bureaucracy of Harvard. Which was more difficult? I guess Harvard was harder.

4. Do you think the 2016 Republican presidential nominee will support gay marriage?

Not in 2016. Yes in 2020. I think this is an age thing.

5. You're a history buff. How do you think history will judge President Obama?

I would have liked to see him fight even harder. I would have liked to see him more in the Elizabeth Warren mold. I think he will go down as an effective president, but not as effective as he could have been. And frankly, on foreign policy, not nearly effective enough. I give him a B+.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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