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Gibbs Noncommittal on Repeal Time Line


White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said during Monday's press briefing that he believed "don't ask, don't tell" would be legislatively repealed, but he stopped short of committing to passing the legislation this year.

The Advocate: Senator Lieberman is planning to introduce a "don't ask, don't tell" repeal bill next week. Would the president like to see Congress pass repeal this year?

Gibbs: As you know, Kerry, the president is strongly in support of this, working with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen. There is a process that's underway. You saw in Admiral Mullen the first Joint [Chiefs] Chair to openly -- active Joint [Chiefs] Chair -- to openly call for its repeal.

We have stated throughout this process that the only durable way for this to happen is through legislation. We think that Senator Lieberman's proposal is obviously an important step in that legislation, and I would point out that you heard from commanders in the field over the weekend on news shows as well as former chairman Powell also come out strongly in support of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

The Advocate: A lot of people fear that if it doesn't happen this year that it very well may not happen throughout the entire first term, not to assume a second one.

Gibbs: I don't think the president shares that view because I believe, and i think you all have seen this throughout, obviously there's been a lot of polling on this done since the president's proposal and since Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen testified on Capitol Hill about this. There is strong bipartisan support for its repeal among, among the American people. The president obviously shares that, as do important members of the military, and we think it will become law.

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