'This Week' Transcript: Powell and Dudley

PAGE: You know, and all of that held the presidency captive.

DOWD: I think the Democrats in Congress better be real careful in their criticism of the president in this, because the only person holding them up at all politically right now is the president, because their numbers in Congress are in the 20s. His still is in the high 40s, low 50s.

So of all the popularity of Democrats around the country, Barack Obama is probably the most popular. And so how much you criticize him going into a midterm is not necessarily the best strategy.

TAPPER: Well, let's turn to President Obama and the Congress working on the repeal of "don't ask/don't tell." First of all, Joan, it's not actually technically a repeal, right?

WALSH: Right.

TAPPER: What passed?

WALSH: He gets permission to repeal it once they finish this -- this set of studies. And...

TAPPER: Why not just wait until the studies are done?

WALSH: You know, Jake, there's never -- it's never the wrong time to do the right thing. And I think that's -- I think that's what they're saying. People are calling this political and are not going to sit here and be naive and say it's not political.

But they're not studying whether it should be done. As General Powell made the point today on the show, which was excellent, they're studying how to do it.

So it's not a matter of they still don't know if they're going to do it. There are -- there really are logistical questions. Those are fair questions. They will -- they will be presented with findings.

But there's -- there's no doubt that they're -- that they're going to do it. And so do the Democrats want this vote to please their base? Yes. But did -- did they make a campaign promise that they want to keep? Did Obama? Yes, he did. Is that -- is that bad? I don't think so.

TAPPER: Your son, Daniel, Matthew, just finished five years in the armed forces. What does he think of this?

DOWD: Well, it's interesting. When they talk about the military -- and Republicans criticize this, said we shouldn't do this, the men in uniform -- from my son's perspective -- this has already been decided in their mind and they're basically saying we don't -- shouldn't have "don't ask/don't tell," that when they take a -- raise a hand and said, who thinks that we should have gays in the military? Ten years ago, it used to be 80 percent against it; now it's 80 percent for it.

My son explains they all sit around and talk about it. They go to high school with kids that are now openly gay. They socialize with kids that are openly gay. And all of a sudden, they go into the armed services, somebody gives them a rifle, and they're not supposed to be around gay people anymore?

It doesn't make any sense. It's long been decided in the public's mind. I think the Republicans are so far out of step on this, where the country is, especially the generation...

TAPPER: Well, it's Republican officeholders, right, because Republican people are in favor of repealing the ban.

DOWD: Yes, Republican officeholders are so far out of step with this. And so, especially the generation of folks that are under 35, who basically are socialized to this, they see it in television, they see it in the movies, and they act it in their daily life. So from my perspective and my son's perspective, it's way overdue.

TAPPER: And you are a veteran. You served in the Army during the Vietnam era.

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