Don't Ask, Don't Tell Advice for Obama: Hide the Change

Some suggest Obama should bury the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in bill about military readiness.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers.

A new report on the military came out today from the Center for American Progress and, not surprisingly, it called for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The document could be influential, as it is coming from the progressive think tank whose president, John Podesta, is being borrowed to serve as Barack Obama's transition team leader. But in reality, ditching the Clinton-era law could be politically dicey for Obama. While the president-elect has said he supports getting rid of it, retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, who supported Obama early on and helped beef up his national security cred, told Whispers previously that he thinks the ban should stay, and he's surely not alone.

In addition, with two wars raging, among other national security concerns, it may not be a big priority. "He has got a lot on his plate," Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha tells Whispers. "I'm not sure what his position will be." The two have yet to talk about it personally but Murtha says he's heard people chattering about it. "I'm sure they'll talk to me before they do anything," he assures us. If Obama does decide to tackle the challenge, CAP Senior Fellow and report coauthor Lawrence Korb suggests sticking the repeal into a bill with a whole bunch of other things. "Don't make it a focus," he tells Whispers. "Make it a whole thing about military readiness."

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