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While speaking at Netroots Nation, Bill Clinton was directly challenged about DOMA and DADT

The link presents both the impressions of the questioner and the actual response – you’ll see they are quite different – video here

From the transcript

And, you know, the thing that changed me forever on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was when I learned that 130 gay service people were allowed to serve and risk their lives in the first Gulf War, and all their commanders knew they were gay; they let them go out there and risk their lives because they needed them, and then as soon as the first Gulf War was over, they kicked them out. That’s all I needed to know, that’s all anybody needs to know, to know that this policy should be changed.

and on DOMA

I didn’t like signing DOMA and I certainly didn’t like the constraints that were put on benefits, and I’ve done everything I could — and I am proud to say that the State Department was the first federal department to restore benefits to gay partners in the Obama administration, and I think we are going forward in the right direction now for federal employees. …

Here’s an interesting paragraph

The immediate response shocked me at the time and still does. Those surrounding me yelled at me, booed, and told me to sit down. One elderly lady even told me to leave. While I was among the supposed most progressive audience in the country, they sought to silence someone asking a former President to speak out on behalf of repealing two laws that TOOK AWAY RIGHTS OF A MINORITY. I was shocked.

You know when I’ll be shocked? When you’ll ask Obama this question..

To reiterate where I stand on this

Both laws were compromises meant to avoid worse outcomes (being dishonorably discharged from army and Marriage Amendment). Unlike Obama today, Clinton governed with a GOP congress, a hostile media and no army of activists shouting his policies on the internet. It was the lesser of two evils from the president that had an AIDS office in the White House after 12 years of it being ignored and otherwise turned around the prejudice against gays at the government level.

What’s Obama’s excuse?

Once again, what’s Obama’s excuse?


A better write-up, in – of all places, NYT of the entire event. here’s a quote I liked

Being a former president, he joked, was great because he could speak his mind, but on the other hand, the worst thing is nobody cares anymore. β€œUnless,” he quipped, β€œYour wife becomes secretary of state and then they only care when you screw up.” (At another point, he defended her work there ardently, praising her for touring sites of human misery in the Congo.)

Not Your Sweetie

August 2009
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