What Should Gay/Lesbian Troops Do? + Chamber Responds to White House – Today’s Q’s for O’s WH — 10/13/10

By Jenny Schlesinger

Oct 13, 2010 1:00pm

TAPPER: As the commander in chief. Is there anything he would want to say to – let me preface this by saying the plaintiffs’ attorneys  have said that gay and lesbian service members should not come out of the closet, they should exercise caution because who knows where this is going to end up.  As the commander-in-chief does the president have any message for service members who are gay and lesbian? 

GIBBS: Let me, let me because I know this has some pretty big implications let me take that question and find out. I have not talked to the president specifically about that. 

(LATER) 

TAPPER: So I went to the Chamber of Commerce. And I asked them, I called them and I talked to the Executive Vice President for Government Relations Bruce Josten. I said ‘why don’t you just open your books.’ Here is and I’m quoting him, “A year ago when we ran issue ads across this country, hundreds of them, against the patients protection and affordable care act, citing the CBO report, citing the Center for Medicare Studies–Services report” – and the companies that got divulged publicly that were participating in their campaign – “they were harassed,  and intimidated. The outside allies of this administration, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, HCANN – health care action now network and Moveon.org, all combined and coordinated protests at those companies, at the CEOs’ homes in some cases, as they did hear with us. And they began a proxy campaign, through outside groups, the Center for Political Accountability, and another group, Walden Asset Management. This is a game, ok? And they like to play that game out. So it's clear that the game here is to harass and intimidate.” 

GIBBS: So the answer is no? 

TAPPER: Well answer is no because they don’t want to subject their donors to, in their view, harassment and intimation from allies of the administration. 

GIBBS: They had me at no. 

TAPPER: But what is your response to that?

GIBBS: My response is that, my response is that if they want to end this argument open their books. But let’s, I want to be very clear, this isn’t just the Chamber. We talked about this yesterday.  American Crossroads,  American Groups for Blue Skies, Mom and Apple Pie.  There are all these great groups that are out there that we now know they are doubling down on even more money in this election to influence it’s outcome. That’s what these ads are intended to do is influence the outcome of either a legislative debate or in this case a political debate that will have a lot of say on our legislative debate. Have a lot of say on where we go on health care reform, on Wall Street reform, this is simple, just open up the books, ever one of these groups, show people who you’re donors are. It’s the same standard by which if any of you in this room or any of your friends donated to a political campaign. 

TAPPER: Their response to this general argument by you, I’m just relaying it because we don’t have you guys squaring off here – 

GIBBS: They can come over. 

TAPPER: I’m sure that they are welcome. 

GIBBS: Sure. 

TAPPER: …”Forcing people to comply with disclosure rules in order to exercise the First Amendment ultimately results in people remaining silent or uninvolved with little or no benefit to the public because it squelches speech. The seminal  Supreme Court case was NAACP v. the State of Alabama 1953…when certain people wanted to know who the white Americans that were promoting integration in this country over segregation and out those people to harass  them.  The Supreme Court decided then, ‘Hell no" was the answer.” 

GIBBS:  I — that's — there's an intern in some law review who's pulled a snappy response for continuing to hide behind the shroud of anonymity, and equating it somehow with — with Jim Crow and segregation, which — you have to hand it to him, is — is certainly extending the argument beyond any reasonable bounds. Again, the only people that had something to hide — the only people that — that — that don't want to disclose are people that have something to hide.  Again, they — the person who you read gave an extremely long answer for the word "no."  I think it was — it was illuminating. 

-Jake Tapper

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