After months of being accused by gay rights supporters of not pushing aggressively enough for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, what finally got the White House moving and sealed the deal on a DADT compromise?
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From interviews with those deeply involved in the issue over the past few weeks, including people on the Hill and in the advocacy groups in Washington, the picture that emerges isn't one of a single catalyzing event that suddenly moved the process forward. Rather, according to participants and close observers, there was a confluence of political conditions and practical considerations that gave those pushing for repeal the upper hand in dealing with a reluctant White House.
The final push came from the Hill, where key members of Congress who support repeal, like Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made it clear that they were moving forward with repeal legislation with or without the White House's blessing.
"Levin and others made it clear that the train was leaving the station and the White House not only was not conducting but they weren't even on board," Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, an advocacy group for gays in the military, said in an interview with TPMDC. "They were backed into a corner and and it was blatantly obvious so they finally decided to get on board."