President Barack Obama is moving in the right direction on gay marriage, Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin has said.

Baldwin, 50, could become the first openly gay U.S. senator.

After reminding Baldwin that Obama, who supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, has said he's “evolving” on gay marriage, The New York Times' Sunday Magazine in an interview titled Is This Our First Gay Senator? asked Baldwin: “Would you respect his support on the issue if you thought it was based on an electoral calculation?”

Look, he is moving in the right direction on this issue,” Baldwin replied. “He's been crucial in equality efforts like the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and signing the Matthew Shepard hate crimes prevention act. I have no idea what goes on in another person's mind. As a legislator, I need to be good at persuading people, counting votes and getting to 50 percent plus one. I don't go back and say, 'Why did this person get to the right position?' It's only 'Are you yes or are you no?'”

On Friday, Obama appeared to move a bit closer in that direction when he came out against a proposed constitutional amendment in North Carolina which would ban gay marriage.

According to a recent poll, Baldwin is within 2 percentage points of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, considered the front-runner in the race for the seat being vacated by Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl.