Q Actually, it's a follow-up from yesterday, since I didn't get a follow-up then, but you said yesterday that —
MR. GIBBS: Apparently that's your own fault. (Laughter.) I'm joking.
I don't want to get into it. Look what you've done to me. You've got me
in this place — nature versus nurture. (Laughter.) Sorry, go ahead.
Q So you had said that the President is working with the Pentagon
and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on "don't ask, don't tell," but earlier
this week the Pentagon said that the conversations were "initial" and
that there is "no sense of any immediate developments in the offing on
efforts to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell.'" So I wanted to give you a
chance to correct the Pentagon on that.
And I have two other questions. What other policies are there —
MR. GIBBS: If you ask like that you're going to get bumped up to, like, the first row. (Laughter.)
Let me address the first question because, if I'm not mistaken, the
Pentagon did correct that statement on efforts regarding the reform on
"don't ask, don't tell."
Q So there are active conversations happening now?
MR. GIBBS: Yes. Yes.
Q Okay. And then I wanted to know if there are any other policies
that the President believes to be, as you said yesterday about "don't
ask, don't tell," not in our national interest but is content to let
Congress take the lead on? And second, President Truman didn't see it
necessary to clear desegregation through Congress, so how is this
MR. GIBBS: Well, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but maybe
I was — maybe I used some poor language, but the President is involved
in these discussions. It was the President's commitment to overturn the
policy that's not in our national interest that is the reason for these
discussions and for the effort to overturn this. So I think the notion
somehow — the reason Congress is involved is the only durable and
lasting way with which to overturn the policy is to do it by law.
That's the —
Q So when can we expect a durable policy on racial desegregation in the military, since that's never gone through Congress?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I'm out of my depth as a lawyer. And I'm not
exactly sure the timing of when President Truman did that, but my sense
is that there were also some legal proceedings around that. Try as one
may, a President can't simply whisk away standing law of the United
States of America. I think that's maybe been the undercurrent of some
of the conversations we've had over the past few days on Guantanamo
Bay. But if you're going to change the policy, if it is the law of the
land, you have to do it through an act of Congress.
Q And so there's pending legislation? I didn't see any.
MR. GIBBS: I don't know what's been introduced in Congress.