President Obama on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Reform: The Dog That Didn’t Bark

By Kristina

Apr 15, 2011 3:06pm

ABC’s Jordyn Phelps reports: 

In candid remarks to supporters at a Chicago fundraiser last night, President Obama discussed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” calling it “the dog that didn’t bark.”

The president explained that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reform has been successful because the White House went about reforming the policy, which forbids gay and lesbians from serving openly in the military, in such a way that the Pentagon took leadership.

“We said if we do it in a way that the Pentagon takes ownership for, then not only can we get it passed, but we will have changed– it will not be an event,” President Obama said. “And look what’s happened! We passed that thing and it’s like everybody’s fine. Nothing’s happened! It’s the dog that didn’t bark.”

President Obama called for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in his 2010 State of the Union address, and soon thereafter, the Pentagon took about a process of internally reviewing the policy. Later in the year, the Pentagon released a report supporting repeal, and Congress voted to allow the military to end the policy. The Pentagon is now in the process of developing plans to reverse the policy. 

The president went on to say that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reform offers an example of how the American people and cultural attitudes are changed. It is also an example, he said, of smart political strategy.

“Sometimes plotting out a way to get things done that is not as flashy but lays the groundwork so that something is firm, that it has a strong foundation to it, is the right way to do it,” President Obama said.

The president made the comments after reporters had been escorted from the room, but a microphone was left on in the room, and ABC and CBS recorded the remarks.


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