Obama Looks to Lieberman to Lead 'Don't Ask' Repeal

Conn. independent has opposed policy on gays in military since '93
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2009 7:39 AM CDT
Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the US Central Command, shakes hands with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – After President Obama's pledge this weekend to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the White House turned immediately to key senators on the Armed Services Committee—in particular Joe Lieberman. A House bill to repeal the policy has 177 sponsors, but the White House is eager for Senate legislation with bipartisan support. "We are talking directly to the Hill," said John Berry, the White House's director of personnel and the administration's highest ranking gay member.

Several Democratic senators, including Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, have been mentioned as possible sponsors, but Lieberman, who endorsed John McCain last year, looks likely to get the White House's backing. He sits as an independent with strong relationships with Maine's two Republican senators, either of whom might co-sponsor the bill. A Lieberman spokesman gave few details but pointed out: "He has opposed since it was first proposed in 1993."