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Clinton and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Clinton was asked whether her husband's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was the right choice when it was put in place more than a decade ago. She used the question to expound on her political philosophy:

Sen. Clinton during Sunday night's debate. (AP Photo)

"Talking about this as though there is a reality out there that a president can change with the snap of a finger does a grave disservice to the American people," Clinton said.

That statement defines her approach to this race, whether the issue at hand is Iraq, health care or gay rights. Clinton preaches the politics of the possible on the campaign trail, acknowledging that big issues are rarely clear cut. It is an approach focused on governing, not campaigning.

But on this particular question, Clinton wasn't afraid to say her husband's administration made a mistake. Clinton said "don't ask, don't tell" was a "transition policy" that wasn't well implemented and "it's not the best way to do it." She said gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the armed forces and be treated the same as all other recruits.

Shortly after, the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they disagreed with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Every candidate on the stage raised his or her hand.

-- Chris Cillizza

By Editors  |  June 3, 2007; 7:58 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Posted by: Dietse | June 23, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

i agree with that fact

Posted by: lety | June 22, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

i agree with that fact

Posted by: lety | June 22, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Either Clinton or Romney...
Guilliani supposedly used to have a gay friend who helped him to recover from his break-up from his wife. He stayed with him and his partner until he was ready to move on. Guilliani supports gay rights as well as Romney, Clinton, and most of the democratic candidates.

Posted by: ian | June 11, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Michael J., Clinton did talk in circles. I believe that she did that to make herself all puffed up so that she could preserve her image on camera. wouldn't you say so too?

Posted by: Steph | June 7, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | June 4, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Clinton DID NOT readily admit that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," was a mistake. In fact, Wolf Blitzer had to reiterate the question because she didn't answer it the first time. I'm not sure why you'd think this was a good issue for her; I thought she addressed the issue by talking in circles.

Posted by: Michael Jones | June 3, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice try, Chris, but that was a disasterous topic for Clinton. DADT was the ultimate political decision, not a "governing" decision (indeed, it was all about "campaigning"--in this case, the campaign for Bill's reelection).

And this topic only reminded Democrats familiar with this issue of their sense of betrayal when Bill Clinton did not, in their view, carry through his original campaign promises.

Posted by: DTM | June 3, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

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