Eliot Spitzer Talks ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Gay Marriage, and Obama

During a lengthy and frank interview with former New York governor Eliot Spitzer about Wall Street, corporations, his dalliances with prostitutes, his new CNN show, and the recent election, Kevin Sessums also brings up gay rights.

Spitzer As you may recall Spitzer introduced a marriage equality bill in the months before he was forced to step down over his escort scandal.

Sessums asks Spitzer about DADT, marriage equality, and Obama:

Q:On another legal matter, do you agree with Obama that he had no choice as president defending the law of Congress to appeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ruling that said it was unconstitutional? Or do you agree with Ted Olson that he did not have to.

He didn’t have to. He should have gotten rid of it with an executive order. He is the president! He is the commander in chief!

Q:Is he a coward about this issue?

I don’t want to call the president of the United States a coward.

Q:I will. On this issue, he’s a coward. He is playing politics with people’s lives. It’s cowardly.

Let me put it this way. From the very beginning, I have been very disappointed in his positions on a lot of civil-rights issues, on a lot of state-secrecy issues, a lot of judicial moments when he could have actually chartered a very different course than his predecessor and he hasn’t. And certainly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is one of them.

Q:And on gay marriage, he is to the right of Dick Cheney and Ken Mehlman and Ted Olson. It would be almost poetic if it weren’t so sad and disheartening that on the civil-rights issue of our time, our first African-American president will be seen on the wrong side of history. Again, for political reasons he’s playing with people’s lives.

It dismays me, too. It’s dismaying. I am proud to say that I was the first governor in America to propose that same-sex marriage be legal and it still appalls me where we are on this issue in this country. Appalls me.

Eliot Comes Clean [the daily beast]


  1. Q says

    Kevin Sessums calls Obama a coward? Then what does he call gays that won’t confront or protest at the rallies of Repiglicans and Teabaggers?

  2. Luminum says

    I’m pretty disgusted by Sessums’ journalism. Obama’s on the right of Cheney AFTER Cheney was out of office. Cheney is free to be as “pro-gay” as he wants for his selfish daughter now that he doesn’t have to play politics. Let’s not paint a false picture here.

    You can disagree with Obama’s positions (I certainly have been disappointed), but Sessums is really not showing me any credibility as a journalist. This isn’t about your flag you’re waving. Spitzer gave you his answer. Roll with it. Do your job.

    Bitch about it on your off time like the rest of us.

  3. says

    Kevin Sessums is absolutely correct.

    (Cue the Hillary Clinton fan club.)

    As for Mr. Spitzer do not fail to see “Client 9.” It’s a superb documentary about his downfall and is filled with all manner of details that never made it into “Mainstream.” He’s an intelligent but flawed and weirdly naive man.

  4. patrick nyc says

    I once admired Spitzer, having met him several times and voted for him as both AG and Governor. While I recognize that we are all human, and have our own faults, he spent years as AG going after men who used prostitutes, all the while doing the same himself.

    Like Bill Clinton’s wandering cock, he caused his own scandal and took the focus on the jobs they should have been doing, instead of getting laid. Clinton though didn’t break the law until he lied under oath about it, something that should have never have come up to begin with, but the GOP was hell bent on bringing him down, like they are with Obama now. Luckily Obama is not a slut, they only have his race to go after.

  5. Steve says

    Spitzer is absolutely correct that Obama could have done away with DADT by executive order – just the way Harry Truman integrated the armed services, or Jimmy Carter offered amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders. It wouldn’t have been a popular move, but it would have allowed us to put DADT behind us. Instead, by trying reach a consensus on this issue, Obama has allowed the Right to fan the flames of dissent.

  6. mike says

    @Steve You nailed it! This should have been behind us a long time ago. I just don’t “get” Obama. What’s he afraid of? Geez, man! Be bold! Be brave! So what if you are a “one-term president”? I’d rather have a courageous and visionary one-term president than some bi-partisan, two-term wuss. Sorry, Mr. President, but it’s time to “MAN UP”!

  7. BobN says

    Cheney supports our right to fight for marriage at the ballot box. And he has said he would vote against us.

    That is not to the left of Obama.