Bachmann repeats support for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Ames Straw Poll winner Michele Bachmann said Sunday that if she were elected president, she would likely restore the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that required gays and lesbians to hide their sexual orientation while serving in the military. (Bachmann sidelines CNN’s attempts to paint her as an extremist)

“The don’t ask, don’t tell policy worked very well … yes, I probably would” revive the policy, she told interviewer Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of The Union” Sunday.

Bachmann had earlier announced her support for the policy during the June 13 Republican primary debate in New Hampshire.

In the same debate, four other candidates said they supported the policy, or would keep it until the military endorsed a change. “I believe it should have been kept in place until [the] conflict was over,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said. “We’re in a nation in two wars. I think we need to pay deference to our military commanders, particularly our combatant commanders,” said former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who withdrew from the race Sunday.

The White House halted the policy following Congress’ December vote to end the 1993 law that enshrined it. The Democratic-led House voted 250 to 175, and the Democratic-led Senate voted 65 to 31, to end the policy.

Public polls showed increasing support for ending the policy. In 1993, only 44 percent of the Americans believed gays and lesbians should openly serve in the military. That number crept up during the following decade.

A Gallup poll from December 2010 showed that “if they had an opportunity to vote on it, 67% of Americans say they would vote for a law that would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.”

The same Gallup poll showed that 48 percent of Republicans, and 24 percent of independents, would oppose a law against allowing “gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.”

A Washington Post poll conducted in December reported that 77 percent of respondents would allow gays and lesbians who do “publicly disclose their sexual orientation … to serve in the military.”

The same poll showed that 83 percent of respondents supported service by gays and lesbians who do not “publicly disclose their sexual orientation.”