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Bill Clinton comments on Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Bill Clinton comments on Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Courtesy of MTVU

Last week in New Orleans, MTVU, MTV's Emmy-winning college network, hosted President Clinton for a first-ever "Editorial Board" with four student newspaper journalists from around the country. Highlights included when Clinton said Congress should get rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and mounted a spirited defense of the Defensive Marriage Act - which he passed, leading Melissa Ethridge to accuse him of "throwing the Gay community under a bus." Clinton believes Congress next year may "get rid of" the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, allowing Gays to serve as long as they do not discuss their sexual orientation. Excerpts of the interview follow. For more, visit www.mtvu.com.

"It would have been a better policy if it had been implemented the way General [Colin] Powell and I agreed to implement it. & I think we may have the support now in Congress to get rid of it altogether. That's what we should do. We should do what every other major country has done and allow Gays to serve honorably in the military. & I'm not defending 'don't ask, don't tell' on the merits. & Our guys came to us and said, 'Look. If you don't agree to this, they're going to bury you. You will have nothing.'

"What flipped me on this - what made me strongly in favor of allowing Gays to serve in the military was the first Gulf War. & In the first Gulf War, the military knowingly shelved plans to replace more than a hundred people in critical military positions who were Gay. They let them serve and as soon as the war was over & these people had risked their lives for our country, and they served honorably & then they & kicked them out. So that plus [then-senators] Bob Kerrey, John Kerry and & one or two other Vietnam veterans coming to me and saying, 'We'll stick with you on this, because we think it's ridiculous.'"

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