After Sen. Carl Levin said Monday that President Barack Obama may state his intentions regarding “don’t ask, don’t tell” in his State of the Union speech on Wednesday, the question remains whether it will actually make the speech and, if so, what exactly the president will say.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sidestepped most questions on what would be included in the speech during Tuesday’s briefing. But asked by The Advocate whether the policy was at least "a point of discussion" for inclusion, Gibbs responded, “Yes.”
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said Tuesday he believed mention of the gay ban was in the first draft of the State of the Union address.
“We had earlier reports that it was in a draft, but we don't know any specifics and don't know if it's still in there today,” he said.
Several sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they were aware that specific recommendations for potential inclusion had been made regarding the policy.
“I know that there was some language floating around that was recommended by people high up in the food chain,” said one source. “At least there was something tangible on the table.”
But those who have witnessed the process of creating a State of the Union address said much can change between now and Wednesday night.
“Two days in the run-up to the State of the Union is like a lifetime,” said Richard Socarides, former special assistant and LGBT adviser to President Bill Clinton. “There will be so many versions of his speech between now and when it's given.”