Reid to Obama: We need your leadership to repeal DADT

The White House keeps saying that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” must be repealed by Congress, as if the Obama administration has no role in that process. Today, invoking Dan Choi and Victor Fehrehbach, the Senate Majority Leader told Obama that he has to get involved to make the repeal happen:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ramped up the pressure on the White House and the military to repeal its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with a direct appeal to President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week.

In letters to Gates and Obama dated Sept. 24th and obtained by HuffPost, the Nevada Democrat asks each to “bring to Congress your recommendations on DADT” — the policy that allows gay or lesbian Americans to serve in the military as long as they don’t mention that they are gay or lesbian.

The policy, which is not applied consistently, has nevertheless cost the military valuable soldiers, sailors, pilots and translators.
Reid called for the policy to be repealed earlier this year and former president Bill Clinton, who instituted it, has called it one of his chief regrets.

A legislative fix could be difficult; it is not at all clear that the Senate could find 60 votes to overcome a likely filibuster. Reid, therefore, is calling in Obama.

“As Congress considers future legislative action, we believe it would be helpful to hear your views on the policy,” he writes. “Your leadership in this matter is greatly appreciated and needed at this time.”

Obama’s leadership has been needed since January 20th. He could have used executive authority to stop Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but didn’t and won’t.

Can’t wait to see how Robert Gibbs responds to questions about this letter. His responses on DADT do vary.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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