UPDATE: The Hill now reports that Obama WILL talk about DADT in his SOTU address Wednesday:
Levin was told to hold off on announcing the hearing until after the president’s address Wednesday, according to a Senate aide. Levin was also told that Obama will address the issue of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in his speech on Wednesday, but Levin does not know what’s in the speech, the aide added. Levin also mentioned this in a huddle with reporters on Monday.
A source familiar with some details of the initial draft of the State of the Union said it would address the repeal of the controversial law. Obama has made it his campaign promise to repeal the Clinton-era law. Obama has come under increasing pressure from gay-rights advocates to move on the repeal.
Via Kerry Eleveld comes word that someone at the Department of Defense asked Senator Carl Levin to postpone this week’s hearing on the repeal of DADT. The reason? The President could announce his plans to follow through on the repeal in his State of the Union address Wednesday night:
Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said Monday during a press conference that “don’t ask, don’t tell” hearings would take place in early February, but he stopped short of giving a specific until after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
“I was hoping to be able to announce a date. I cannot announce a date, but it is our intent to begin those hearings in early February,” said Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. He told The Military Times that he held off on the announcement at the request of senior Department of Defense officials who said the president may announce his intentions regarding the policy during Wednesday’s speech.
Levin told reporters at the briefing he was trying to set up the hearings in a “thoughtful” way so that they would have the desired effect, “which is to change the policy.”
Okay, this is second or third hand, but it could be a big deal. And, for the record, we’ve heard speeches from Obama. We need to hear the President lay out the plan for the full repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And, then, we need to see the follow through.
The anticipation level for the SOTU just got significantly higher from my perspective. This tidbit from Levin sure raises the stakes for the Wednesday night’s speech. Although, Z. Byron Wolf from ABC News provides this perspective:
To recap – it is not entirely clear that the President will address the policy in the State of the Union Address. Even if he does, it is unclear what that policy will be. But it is a fact that Sen. Levin has held off holding Senate hearings on the issue because he is under the impression that it will come up in the State of the Union Address.