Obama opened up his Human Rights Campaign dinner speech with a joke about Lady Gaga, and closed by reinforcing the point that he'd be working to effectively end the military's longstanding Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
Mr. Obama said this country cannot afford to cut from the military's ranks people with needed skills for fighting. He made the comments to thousands of gays and lesbians at a fundraising dinner Saturday night for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-rights group.
The line: "We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country. We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage, especially when we are fighting two wars. I appreciate that many of you don't believe progress has come fast enough. Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach."
"Despite the real gains that we've made, there are still laws to change and still hearts to open," and says discrimination needs to end, "whether in the office or the battlefield...Do not doubt the path we are on or the destination we will reach," POTUS does not offer any timeline for just when that destination will be reached. On a lighter note, the line of the night may have been the opener: "It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga," the president told the crowd. "I've made it."
Again: no timeline. But pretty strong words. Stating the obvious: President Obama's taken hits for not being able to fulfill campaign promises. The Human Rights Committee is the largest gay and lesbian rights group in Washington. The National Equality March on Washington is tomorrow.
Part 1 of the speech. The Lady Gaga joke comes at the beginning: