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Hillary Clinton gets testy over gay marriage question on NPR

Hillary Clinton is defending her embrace of gay marriage, denying in an interview that she declined to support it in the past for political reasons.

Clinton accuses National Public Radio’s Terry Gross of “playing with my words” in a tense exchange during an interview broadcast Thursday.

Gross repeatedly asked Clinton whether she had changed her opinion on same-sex marriage or whether the public’s evolving views on the subject allowed her to be supportive.

“I have to say, I think you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue,” Clinton said.

“I’m just trying to clarify so I understand…” Gross said.

“No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify,” Clinton snapped back at Gross. “I think you’re trying to say I used to be opposed and now I’m in favor and I did it for political reasons, and that’s just flat wrong. So let me just state what I feel like you are implying and repudiate it. I have a strong record, I have a great commitment to this issue, and I am proud of what I’ve done and the progress we’re making.

“You know, somebody is always first,” Clinton said. “Somebody is always out front and thank goodness they are. But that doesn’t mean that those who join later, in being publicly supportive or even privately accepting that there needs to be change, are any less committed. You could not be having the sweep of marriage equality across the country if nobody changed their mind, and thank goodness so many of us have.”

The former secretary of state backed gay marriage in 2013 after she left the State Department.

It followed President Barack Obama’s announcement during the 2012 presidential campaign that he supported gay marriage.

Contributing: Associated Press