Am I seeing things, or did Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who can never give a straight answer to this even though he full well knows the answer, just say “no DADT repeal in 2010“? Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate asks, and Gibbs finally tells. Video via The Wonk Room.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 21, 2010
BY PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBS
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
12:09 P.M. EDT
Q Let me get back to the question. So there was the heckling on Monday night, there’s the veterans yesterday at the White House gates handcuffing themselves to the fence. All of these actions are aimed at getting repeal this year, something the White House has sort of declined to commit to since the State of the Union address. Has the White House misjudged the level of patience among LGBT and grassroots activists on this?
MR. GIBBS: No. Again, I would remind anybody on this issue — look, first of all, I will say this. Obviously the President made a commitment in the presidential campaign, and understands the passion that people hold the belief that all should be able to serve. The President holds that belief too.
But I would remind folks that wasn’t a belief that the President held in 2007 — that’s a belief that the President held in running for the Senate as far back as 2003.
The President has made and is committed to making this changed law. I don’t think he’s underestimated the — as you said, the patience of some. The President wants to see this law changed, just as you’ve heard the Chair of the Joint Chiefs and others in the military say that it’s time for that change to happen.
Q But he’s committed to them letting the Pentagon work through its working group process until December 1st, is that true? He’s committed to that?
MR. GIBBS: Yes. The President has set forward a process with the Joint — the Chair of the Joint Chiefs and with the Secretary of Defense to work through this issue.
Q Before any legislative action is taken — that rules out legislative action this year?
MR. GIBBS: Well, again — the House and the Senate are obviously a different branch of government. The President has a process and a proposal I think that he believes is the best way forward to seeing, again, the commitment that he’s made for many years in trying to — changing that law.
Well it will be interesting tomorrow at the LGBT Town Hall when we get to ask Mr. Solmonese about that bold promise he made at the HRC Carolinas dinner to a bunch of donors with their check books…guess the administration felt it was time to go ahead and toss Joe and Co. under the bus with the rest of us.
If DADT isn’t repealed and ENDA isn’t passed this year, Obama is going to start his reelection campaign with a serious gay problem. And, it’s going to be even worse when the mastermind behind this failed DADT strategy, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, is named campaign manager. It’s all so unnecessary. Repealing DADT is a “no-brainer.” Polls show amazing support and even Dick and Liz Cheney are on our side. Even the Teabaggers are on our side. The only people not on our side are Democrats with election certificates in the White House and the Congress.
I just think that the White House and the DNC are making a serious miscalculation as to how much damage they are causing with a core Democratic constituency.
And he hasn’t seen the last of the protests either, I’m pretty sure of that.
Gibbs also comments on the protests.
Q The President was heckled pretty persistently on Monday night about “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. Six LGBT veterans chained themselves to the White House gates yesterday — I think you actually saw it. All of these actions —
MR. GIBBS: I was walking through the park at that time.
Q You were walking, just a casual walk through the park. Were you pushed back by Park Police — no, I’m just kidding.
MR. GIBBS: I will say — can I mention the Park Police?
Q Yes, sure.
MR. GIBBS: I think many people I’ve seen, and I think we were asked yesterday the role in which the White House played in that. Obviously the Park Police has — rightly took responsibility for some overzealous actions; they corrected those — albeit belatedly. The White House and the Secret Service did not have any role in that decision-making and I think the Park Police has taken — rightly taken responsibility.