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#DADT for this second: White House working to squash Levin-bred fears

by Jeremy Hooper

In light of comments from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) suggesting that he's open to dropping DADT repeal from the NDAA, the White House is working to ensure concerned eyes and ears that ridding the world of the un-American ban is still a pre-holiday priority:

[White House spokesman Shin Inouye] wrote, "Today, President Obama called Chairman Levin to reiterate his commitment on keeping the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in the National Defense Authorization Act, and the need for the Senate to pass this legislation during the lame duck."

He added, "The President's call follows the outreach over the past week by the White House to dozens of Senators from both sides of the aisle on this issue.

White House: Obama Calls Levin With "Commitment" to Lame-Duck DADT Repeal [Metro Weekly]

We have a choice over the next two months: We can opt for flames and criticism and skepticism, or we can put the energy towards faith and commitment and hard work. I would argue that we have to opt for the latter during this lame duck period, doing all we can to both hope and help. And it doesn't even matter how understandable the frustrations may be: We have no choice to believe that, ultimately, we have the right cogs with the right design and intentions. Forward movement is our only card.

Then if/when that fails, flame away. But this is the crunchiest of crunch times. The "now" in what could be a long sea of never. From now until a repeal vote, I'm putting the time towards positive force.


*Some hope, via Greg Sargent:

But very plugged in staffers who are actively involved in counting votes for Senators who favor repeal tell me it's premature to conclude this -- and that it could still get 60 votes in the Senate. These staffers tell me they've received private indications from a handful of moderate GOP Senators that they could vote for cloture on a Defense Authorization Bill with DADT repeal in it -- if Dem leaders agree to hold a sustained debate on the bill on the Senate floor.

Here's why this is important: It throws the ball back into the court of Senator Harry Reid and the White House. It means the onus is on them, mainly on Reid, to agree to a two-week Senate debate on DADT, including allowing amendments. Reid had previously tried to limit amendments, leading GOP moderates to balk. And Dem leaders may not want to allow this two week debate now, because time is short and it could prolong the session. But they should do it, because it's the only real chance to get repeal done. And it could get done.

The GOP Senators who are in play, according to these staffers, are Richard Lugar, George Voinovich, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. A spokesman for Lugar, Mark Helmke, tells me that Lugar would vote for cloture if Reid staged "ordered debate on a number of issues in the bill."

Yes, DADT repeal could still pass, Senate staffers say [WaPo]

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