Sen. Mark Udall: ‘best move forward’ for DADT is in Def. Bill — and he hasn’t spoken to White House

Kerry Eleveld interviewed Senator Mark Udall, who actually has been a fierce advocate for us on Capitol Hill. Udall sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been one of the leaders on DADT repeal. The interview is worth a read. But, several questions stuck out for me. This one:

There is this talk of potentially stripping the repeal measure from the bill and passing the NDAA without it. In your opinion, is there any scenario under which you could get “don’t ask, don’t tell” through if it’s not attached to the Defense bill?

I don’t think there is, but I always believe hope springs eternal. I do think the best way to move this forward is in the NDAA and I do worry that if we don’t formalize the repeal process in statute now that we may not have this opportunity for a number of years in the future. If you listen to Sec. [Robert] Gates and Adm. [Mike] Mullen, they want the repeal in law, they want the Congress to have the final say. This is the most appropriate way to repeal an outdated policy that undercuts our national security.

That should help shut down the inane, counter-productive strategy concocted by the Palm Center, which no one can makes sense of.

And these two:

Do you get the sense that the White House is actively involved here? Have you spoken with them, and do you get the sense that they are having conversations with other senators?

I believe that a number of senators who are on the fence would benefit greatly from hearing directly from the president, the Secretary of Defense, and the from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the importance of passing the Defense bill and, included in that, the repeal provision.

That would be helpful. I don’t know whether they are doing that, but I’ve been weighing in on a series of letters and comments and outreach efforts to the White House, to other senators, and to the general public. So that would be helpful.

But you haven’t spoken with the White House directly?

I have not specifically spoken to the White House.

Still waiting for that promised White House strategy. Not seeing it.


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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