Admiral Mike Mullen—chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America's top military officer—said on CNN's State of the Union that he favors a "measured" approach if any changes are to be made to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Colin Powell Hub
Colin Powell—who helped craft Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 1993 (picture from that year) after thwarting President Bill Clinton in his efforts to open the military to out gay soldiers—said on CNN's State of the Union today that the policy should be reviewed, but would not say it should be repealed.
Rachel Maddow interviewed former General Colin Powell and Andrea Mitchell interviewed Former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander about repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Alexander called DADT "like having a bowl of bigotry around a curtain of silk. It takes the basic integrity of a person and says you must forget it. It turns people into liars."
Mitchell discusses the Elaine Donnelly letter and Alexander calls it "nonsense."
Watch the clips, AFTER THE JUMP...
While Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a Change.gov video that "Yes," the President would lift the ban on gays in the military, Obama is signaling that it will be months if not years before enough canvassing of military officials and congressional leadership can be done for him to be comfortable in moving forward:
"Obama is hoping to avoid the missteps of the Clinton administration when it tried to open the ranks to gays and lesbians, only to be confronted by fierce resistance from lawmakers and commanders...At the Pentagon, officials say they have been told not to expect the administration to seek to lift the ban quickly. One senior officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said staff officers for Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been told it will be several months at the earliest - possibly not even this year - until the top brass will be formally asked to weigh in on a change in policy. And even then, he said, the military has been assured it will have wide latitude to undertake a detailed study of how a change in the policy would affect the military."
Nathaniel Frank, a researcher at a think tank in Santa Barbara, California, says there is "good reason" for Obama to proceed with caution, but points out the issues with moving too slowly: "A delay could let opposition fester and build."
The NYT: "Mr. Obama’s cultivation of the military has reached the point that it is already causing unease among some members of his liberal base, who say they will hold him to his promise on troop withdrawals and pressure him to move more quickly on'don’t ask, don’t tell.' The nation’s largest gay rights lobbying group has called on the president to develop a plan to end 'don’t ask, don’t tell' within his first 100 days, and another group is asking that Mr. Obama push for repeal by the end of the year. 'I’d be very concerned if they don’t seize this opportunity in 2009,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group that represents gay men and lesbians in the military. “We take the president at his word, and we plan to keep his feet to the fire.'"
Obama seeks assessment on gays in military [boston globe]
Colin Powell spoke with Fareed Zakaria on CNN's The Situation Room today and said it was time to re-evaluate 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.
Said Powell: "We definitely should reevaluate it. It's been 15 years since we put in DADT which was a policy that became a law. I didn't want it to become a law but it became a law. Congress felt that strongly about it. But it's been 15 years and attitudes have changed and so I think it is time for the Congress, since it is their law, to have a full review of it, and I'm quite sure that's what President-elect Obama will want to do."
Following Powell's remarks, Wolf Blitzer held a useless interview with former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who is running to be the next chairman of the Republican Party and is confident the policy works even though "he doesn't have Powell's experience" in the military.
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
The official police estimate for Obama's rally in St. Louis on Saturday was 100,000, the largest crowd he has drawn thus far:
"The massive gathering—followed by an evening event in Kansas City that his campaign said drew at least 75,000—created a powerful image of strength in a bellwether state that has gone Republican in the past two presidential elections. 'All I can say is, wow,' Obama said as he took the stage here, his home state within view across the Mississippi River."
On Sunday, the Obama campaign announced that it raised more than $150 million in September: "His campaign has now raised more than $600 million, almost equaling what all the candidates from both major parties collected in private donations in 2004."
A day after Colin Powell's endorsement, in an interview on Today, the Democratic candidate said that Powell would serve as an adviser in an Obama administration: "Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that's a good fit for him, is something we'd have to discuss."
Obama responded to the news of Powell's endorsement at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Sunday. Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...