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White House: We're In "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Consultations

Yesterday, Hotsheet told you about Rep. Ellen Tauscher's introduction of legislation to repeal the 15-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule and allow gay men and women to serve openly in the military.

Tauscher introduced the legislation today. (Some media outlets are erroneously reporting that she did so Monday.)

The White House has released a statement giving some sense of where it stands on the legislation. As we noted yesterday, the president may not want a fight over the issue at a time when he has a number of other major battles going on.

"The President supports changing Don't Ask Don't Tell," spokesman Tommy Vietor said. "As part of a long standing pledge, he has also begun consulting closely with Secretary Gates and Chairman Mullen so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security."

No word on how long those consultations will take. Their existence, however, does provide the president with some political cover: As the Associated Press writes, "the move enables Obama to say he's making good on his campaign promise to reverse the law, but doesn't lock him into doing so anytime soon."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who wants to repeal the Clinton-era policy, and other Democrats have called for an in-depth study of the issue. The White House did not comment on the possibility of creating a panel to do so.

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