CNN's Larry King Hits Biden From the Left on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

CNN host Larry King channeled the left's frustration with the Obama administration on Thursday's Larry King Live as he questioned Vice President Joe Biden about their approach on overturning the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy: "You were against it, as I understand? Certainly, the President is against it. Most of the administration is against it....So why is this our policy?"

King had Mr. Biden on as his sole guest during the first half hour of his program, and brought on Second Lady Jill Biden to join her husband for the remainder of the program. The host raised the controversial issue immediately before Mrs. Biden came on, and besides noting how "most of the administration" is against the policy, he stated that "apparently, they polled troops- they're against it, and you poll America- they're against it."

On October 29, 2010, The Washington Post cited unnamed "multiple people familiar with the findings" of a Defense Department survey of active-duty and reserve military, which apparently found that "a majority of active-duty and reserve service members...would not object to serving and living alongside openly gay troops," but the actual results would not be available until December 1, when a "Pentagon report...regarding how the military would end enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" law" is released. However, only two years ago, The Military Times, in their annual poll of active-duty service members, revealed that 58% were opposed to the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Moreover, General James Conway, who stepped down as commandant of the Marine Corps on October 22 of this year, stated in an October 15 interview that "as many as 95% of Marines would be uncomfortable serving alongside openly gay troops."

As for the American public's view about  the issue, recent poll results have actually varied widely. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, released on November 17, 2010, found that 50% supported the repeal of the military's policy, while 38% opposed the repeal. CNN's own poll from May 2010 found that 78% of the public supported repeal. A July 2010 poll commissioned by the conservative Center for Military Readiness found an almost even split amongst the American people, with 48% supporting the policy and 45% against it.

When Vice President Biden initially replied that "this is complicated for people to understand and I don't blame them," King pressed the Democrat by asking him to "simplify it." The host was seemingly unsatisfied by Biden's subsequent answer, as he followed up by asking, "But the President could sign it away, couldn't he?"

After King raised how both Senator John McCain and retired General Colin Powell wanted the Defense Department's December 1 report released first before any repeal of the policy is discussed, the CNN host asked the vice president if he agreed with the two Republicans, and concluded their discussion of the controversial topic by asking, "Do you think we'll see the end of it ["don't ask, don't tell"] by the end of the year?"

King's line of questioning on "don't ask, don't tell" is just the latest example of CNN's overall trend during 2010 of pushing the left-wing agenda of homosexual activists. Most prominently, the network teamed up with GLAAD in promoting correspondent Soledad O'Brien's documentary "Gary and Tony Have a Baby." CNN also devoted five segments on October 20 to highlighting the organization's "Spirit Day" or "Wear Purple Day." Anchor Ali Velshi himself called for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" during an October 15 commentary. The network also leaned mostly towards those who supported the repeal of California's Proposition 8 on August 4, the day a federal court struck down the voter-approved amendment.

Earlier in the hour, King reminded Biden about his impending retirement: "I'm leaving soon." Biden quipped in reply, "I'm going with you." After some laughs, King cracked back, "We both go out on a sinking ship." One wonders if the host was referring to himself or to CNN's sinking ratings.

The transcript of the relevant portion of the segment, beginning at the 33 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour mark of Thursday's Larry King Live:

KING: The wife will be joining us shortly, but one other thing I want to cover before she does join us- and that's 'don't ask, don't tell.'

JOE BIDEN: Yup.

KING: You were against it, as I understand?

BIDEN: I am.

KING: Certainly, the President is against it-

BIDEN: Yeah.

KING: Most of the administration is against it. Apparently, they polled troops- they're against it, and you poll America- they're against it. So why is this our policy?

BIDEN: It is not- it is- look, Larry, this is complicated for people to understand and I don't blame them.

KING: Simplify it.

BIDEN: Simplified, as easy as I can say it is, Congress passed a policy it has not repealed yet.

KING: But the President could sign it away, couldn't he?

BIDEN: No. The President couldn't- cannot sign it away. What the President can theoretically do is tell the Justice Department to breach what is the understanding that all Justice Departments have. Justice Departments are obliged to defend laws constitutionally passed by the United States Congress and signed by former presidents. So-

KING: So the attorney general has to defend it for now?

BIDEN: He has to defend it for now. We are pushing it as hard as we can. We just had a meeting today with the leadership in the Congress, saying we very much would like to see you pass legislation now, saying end 'don't ask, don't tell.'

KING: Dick Cheney- not Dick Cheney, I'm sorry. Colin Powell was here the other night-

BIDEN: Yeah- a good guy.


KING: And said that he supports John McCain in this matter- let's wait 'til we do the whole investigation by the military. Let's wait until we hear from everybody- don't rush it.

BIDEN: Well-

KING: Do you agree with that?

BIDEN: We're going to see that very, very shortly. There's going to be a report early in December coming from the Defense Department and- on their recommendation. So, as my grandpa used to say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of neighbors, there will be a confluence of the two.

KING: Do you think we'll see the end of it by the end of the year?

BIDEN: I hope so- I hope so.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center