President Obama flies home from Los Angeles today after a series of fundraisers for Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic National Committee. Some of those who paid to see Obama heckled him over what they say is his foot-dragging over repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" - the military's policy for gays and lesbians. Here's the transcript of the event as released by the White House press office:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!”
THE PRESIDENT: We are going to do that. Hey, hold on a second, hold on a second. We are going to do that.
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
THE PRESIDENT: Here we go. All right -- guys, guys, all right. I agree, I agree, I agree. (Applause.) Now --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, no, listen. What the young man was talking about was we need to -- we need to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don't Tell,” which I agree with and which we have begun to do. (Applause.) But let me say this: When you’ve got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you’ve got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don't know exactly why you’ve got to holler, because we already hear you, all right? (Applause.) I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it. (Applause.)
...and a few minutes later:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: It’s time for equality for all Americans!
THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, do you want to come up here? (Applause.) You know, the -- all right, because can I just say, once again, Barbara and I are supportive of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” so I don't know why you’re hollering.
Supreme Court and Financial Reform
On Air Force One today, the President may be reviewing what the White House calls a lengthening list of names to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (who turns 90 today, incidentally). Tomorrow, Obama will hold a meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to get their input.
Looking ahead, Obama heads to New York on Thursday for a speech on financial reform; he wants swift Senate action and he wants the bill to include tough regulation of derivatives, which are widely blamed for igniting the near-economic collapse.
On This Day
1898 - President McKinley asked Congress to declare war on Spain. This followed the famous sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana, Cuba (then a Spanish colony) which killed 252 people. According to the History.com, "Hawks in the media and within the government immediately blamed Spain, and President McKinley, abandoning his hopes for neutrality in the Cuban-Spanish conflict, bowed to Congressional calls for war. (It was later discovered that the explosion was caused by the spontaneous ignition of faulty ammunitions onboard the Maine.)"
"That's all a man can hope for during his lifetime - to set an example - and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history." - William McKinley