Obama's former deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand introduced himself to a group of LGBT leaders and media at Netroots Nation yesterday with three words — "Don't Hate Obama". In a follow-up interview with Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate, he told her that criticism of the President from the progressive blogging community has gone a bit overboard at times.
"My three words were simple – Don’t hate Obama – and if I would have had a chance to elaborate, I would have said, ‘This is a guy who isn’t going to do things exactly the way you want him to do, but know that his heart is in the right place. He has his priorities, they’re in line with our priorities and he’s going to do them at his pace. That at the end of this four-year period, and ideally an additional four years, I don’t think the gay community will be disappointed with the progress that we made under this president."
On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell':
"I’ve made it very clear that I believe the approach the president has taken to secure passage of DADT is the right strategy. I’m at odds with many in the gay community about that, but if we don’t have the support of military leadership for repeal of DADT, members of Congress in the Senate will use that as an excuse to oppose it and we will never have the votes in the House and the Senate to pass repeal if we don’t have the military leadership."
Hildebrand says he doesn't believe that Congress will ever have the guts to repeal DOMA but he believes the Justice Department needs to stop defending it:
"I’m very perplexed on the administration’s continued defense of DOMA in the courts. The Justice Department is not required to defend laws passed by Congress -- they have a history of doing it but it’s not a requirement. Their ultimate duty is to defend the Constitution of the United States and if Congress passes a law that is discriminatory and doesn’t pass muster of constitutionality, the Justice Department in my opinion should not defend those laws. In fact, they should find ways to make sure that those laws are stricken down by the courts. I’d like to see the president and Attorney General Holder announce that they will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act and to agree with the judge’s findings in the Massachusetts’ court case."
Read Eleveld's full interview HERE.