Joe Sudbay just called me to report back on the progressive blogger meeting with President Obama. This is Joe’s rough report, by phone – an actual transcript should be coming out in the next hour – so take what I report with the understanding that it’s been passed along, not exact quotes, etc.
Obama started the meeting by saying he liked constructive criticism, so when it came time for Joe’s questions he told the President that at AMERICAblog we’re always happy to offer the administration constructive criticism, especially on the gay rights issue.
Joe started by telling the President how disappointed and disillusioned the gay community is. Obama told him that gays shouldn’t be disappointed (we’ll have to see the transcript to see why).
Joe then asked about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Does the President think DADT is unconstitutional? It’s a simple question, Joe said, yes or no? Obama answered that it was a difficult question, and that he’s not a Supreme Court justice. (The problem is that this White House has outright avoided this question for weeks, and it keeps being asked. How can the President be defending a law that his lawyers haven’t even determined the constitutionality of?)
Joe’s next question was about same-sex marriage. President said he’s not going to make news today on the question, but that he agreed times are changing, and he said he’s thinking about the issue (again, we need to see the transcript to get the nuance here). Joe told the President about Prop 8 in California, and how our people lost rights, and we are not equal.
Finally, Joe asked the President if he has a strategy for passing the DADT compromise legislation during the lame duck session in Congress. The President did make some news here, by telling Joe that he asked the Log Cabin Republicans in a meeting at the White House yesterday to get him 2 to 5 votes. The President seemed to think that Joe could help persuade Log Cabin to help. Joe told the President that he didn’t have sway with those people.
More to come when the transcript comes out.