Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meet the Press: Levin & McCaffrey call for end to DADT

Responding to President Obama's speech last night to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT rights organization, Meet the Press host David Gregory asked his guests if the president will or should keep his promise to end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that prevents LGBT folks from serving openly in the military. (The policy has led to witch hunts of gay men and lesbians within the ranks.)

Here's your blogstress's insta-transcript:

DAVID GREGORY: Senator Levin, with the president live up to this pledge? Can he?

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-Mich): I think he will and he can, but it has to be done in the right way, which is to get a buy-in from the military, which I think is now possible. Other militaries in the West -- the British and other Western armies have ended this discriminatory policy. We can do it successfully, but it ought to be done with thoughtfulness, with care, and with a buy-in from the military.

GREGORY: Gen. Myers, is it time?

GEN. RICHARD MYERS (RET.), FORMER HEAD OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I can't talk about whether it's time or not, but I think the process that Sen. Levin outlined is exactly right. The senior military leadership needs to be part of this, the Pentagon needs to be part of this --

GREGORY: --Do you have an opinion about whether it's time?

MYERS: Well, I think somebody said, I think Sen. Levin said -- gays can serve in the military; they just can't do so openly. And they do, and there are lots of 'em, and we're the beneficiary of all that.

[LEVIN ROLLS HIS EYES.]

I'll leave it to the current folks to decide whether it's time or not.

GEN. BARRY McCAFFREY (RET.): There's not question that it's time to change the policy. The key to it isn't buy-in from the military; it's for Congress to change the law. They ought to do so, and I'm confident that the military will move ahead on it.

LEVIN: I think we'll do that, but we'll need the support at least of some of the military.

McCAFFREY: I think that's right.

GREGORY: But does it have the political resolve to make [UNINTELLIGIBLE]

LEVIN: I think he does, and I think many of us do; I thought it was a mistake to begin with.

GREGORY: Congress, as well, as the resolve to change it?

LEVIN: I think we will gain that resolve. But we've made other changes in this country. The military are the ones that ended a discriminatory policy against African-Americans, and if they can end it here, it'd be great progress.

GREGORY: And, finally, Sen. Graham: on that question, do you think the military should end the policy?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.: Well, it's my belief that if you don't have buy-in from the military, that's a disservice to the people in the military. They should be included in this. I'm open-minded to what the military may suggest, but I can tell you I'm not going to make policy based on a campaign rally...

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