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Export-Import Bank chairman and president Fred Hochberg, one of the highest-ranking openly gay officials in the Obama administration, told ABC News that President Barack Obama's call to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" was "a very brave step" that continued a series of moves in the "right direction."
Hochberg appeared on the Top Line program Monday and was asked whether he thought the president's call for DADT repeal in his State of the Union address would be enough to assuage disgruntlement in the gay community over the pace of progress.
"I think it was a very brave step," said Hochberg. "I think President Obama indicated his support for that for many, many years, put it into the State of the Union-- it was a very high-profile place of signaling that. But more important, or equally important, was Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates testifying just last week. And Admiral Mullen said it so well. I think he understands that this is a cultural change inside the military and his strong testimony signals that he is four square behind this thing and it is moving. And it is moving as rapidly as it can," he added.
Asked again whether he thought concern in the gay community was assuaged, Hochberg said, "Well, you know, I think that being a president and being a leader is you're going to satisfy people and disappoint people."
"So, is it assuaged 100%? I doubt it," he said. "It's never assuaged 100%, but it's moving in the right direction. President Obama signed hate crimes last year; we're moving forward on 'don't ask, don't tell.' These are all important steps forward."
Watch the video clip below. The DADT discussion begins around the 8:45 mark.