Presidential Q-and-A

Although I did not get to ask a question at today’s White House East Room event in which President Obama gave remarks about the BP oil spill and took questions from reporters — mainly about the oil spill — here’s the question I was prepared to ask were I given the opportunity:

Thank you, Mr. President. My question is about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal compromise amendment that faces House and Senate votes as early as this afternoon. Adm. Mullen said yesterday of the conditions in the amendment, “That trigger is to certify whether we should move ahead with that change.”

Earlier, and repeatedly, however, Sec. Gates said of the study, “This is not a question of if, but how.”

Which is it, Mr. President, and is your understanding of the compromise that the certification is discretionary? And, if so, why is that discretion necessary if the study truly is only looking into how to implement repeal?

But, I did not get to ask my question, so, it remains unanswered.

Here is the background, from my two reports at Metro Weekly on Wednesday: “Discretion Required,” about the impact of the amendment, and “Digging Into the Details,” which looks at the Senate vote count and features my interviews with Reps. Murphy and Frank on the House side.

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect,, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.