White House press secretary Robert Gibbs today, responding to a question from a DC Agenda reporter, said he believes the process for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is off to a “strong start.”
Without elaborating, he confirmed the White House has talked to members of Congress about the need for repealing the military’s ban on service by open gays. The full exchange follows:
DC AGENDA: Robert, I have a question on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin told reporters he doesn’t know whether there’s sufficient support in Congress right now to repeal that law at this time. Considering the president stated that he’s going to work this year with Congress to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” what is the White House doing to get lawmakers to come on in support of that effort?
ROBERT GIBBS: Well, look, what – what the president has done is work with Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen, the military and the Pentagon in setting forth a process for evaluating, studying and ultimately repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” If you heard – you’ve heard – you heard for the first time ever the chairman of the Joint Chiefs discuss the need to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and I think that is a very strong start for a process that the president believes will end – believes will end in overturning – rightfully overturning that law.
DC AGENDA: But is the White House working directly with lawmakers, though, to get them on board in support?
GIBBS: Look, we have – I think many have been – we have talked to many about the process for this. We have talked to them prior to making some of these announcements and prior to some of this testimony.