Gibbs Faces DADT Questions



ROBERT GIBBS 1 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMLater in the gaggle…

Reporter: You mentioned the legal
implications of the “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Are there any political
implications, whether dampening enthusiasm in the LGBT community for
Democrats or putting pressure on conservative Democratic House members
at this point?

Gibbs: This is -- George, this is -- I started
working for then State Senator Barack Obama in April of 2004. And long
before I showed up, his position was “don’t ask, don’t tell” should end.
That’s been his position in that Senate race, as a United States
senator and as both a presidential candidate and now as the President
and Commander-in-Chief.

He took that position because he
believes, as I said earlier, that the policy is wrong and unjust, that
it unfairly discriminates against those who would sacrifice, who would
pay the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country. And it harms our
national security.

He took that position based on that
belief, not on the politics of this or that.

Reporter: Right,
but I’m not asking you about him. He’s not on the ballot. I’m talking
about the impact on Democrats on the ballot of having it come from the
Senate right now, right before an election.

Gibbs: Again, I
think courts are demonstrating that the policy’s time has run out. That
is -- those don’t always conform to a pre-arranged political calendar.

Reporter: Can I follow on that, Robert? Can I follow on it?


Reporter: Okay, so you said that earlier -- that it would
be great if the -- obviously if the branches lined up, if they were in
alignment on this. But I mean, I think one of the things that George is
getting at is that there’s a lot of patience wearing thin within the
LGBT community. People feel like he could put a stop-loss on discharges
right now, that it’s within his legal authority since it’s a time of war
to do that. Why not do that when you have the courts saying it’s
unconstitutional but you have this legislative process making its way
through -- why not do that --

Gibbs: Well, I think what --
Kerry, what I think you forget or what you don’t mention in that
question is, the study and the implementation process that the
Department of Defense is going through -- and as the President mentioned
to me this morning -- it’s not about whether, but about the process of
how. That’s his belief.

First and foremost, it would be a legal
end to and a durable end to the policy through the changing of the law.
And that’s our hope that the Senate follows that lead of the House and
does so.

If it doesn’t, we’ll go from there. But underlying
all of this is a Pentagon that is looking through the implementation of
the end of this policy.

Reporter: So part of that is the
relationship between -- part of not doing that is the relationship
between the White House and the Pentagon and wanting to make sure that
you guys have had a sort of a process that you’ve agreed to?

Well, we -- the President believes that the policy should end, and that
the ending of that policy should be done in a way that provides for a
swift but orderly transition to a policy that he believes is just, that
strengthens our national security and doesn’t discriminate.

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