Mitchell: Powell & Nunn 'Shoved Down [Clinton's] Throat' 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)

While the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy is a relatively moderate position that falls in between the more conservative former policy of actively outing gays in the military, and the more liberal policy originally advocated by Bill Clinton of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military, it is also notable that Mitchell described Nunn as trying to "moderate" what is already a relatively moderate position, which would actually move him in a more liberal direction on the issue.

Below is a transcript of Mitchell's comments from the Sunday June 22 Meet the Press:

ANDREA MITCHELL: Sam Nunn told me on MSNBC, "implausible but not impossible," was his phrase. "Implausible but not impossible" that he would be the nominee. Pluses and minuses: Foreign policy experience, the nuclear threat reduction. Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of "Don't ask, don't tell." He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee. But with Bob Barr in the race, insiders are saying, take a look at those numbers. With Bob Barr in the race, Sam Nunn could make the difference and could carry Georgia.