September 21st, 2010
12:22 PM ET
12 years ago

Dana Bash: Sen. Collins' not so secret phone call

A couple of sources gave me a heads up that moderate Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is considered such a crucial vote on the Defense bill, Vice President Joe Biden called her this morning to lobby her. Collins supports repealing the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy. She was the only Republican to vote with Democrats in committee to approve the language in the bill that allows the repeal, after a Pentagon review is complete and military leaders sign off. But she is signaling that Tuesday's procedural vote, she is sticking with her party.

CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett caught up with Collins outside the Senate chamber just now and asked her about the call, and she was really surprised we knew about it.

Here's how the conversation went:

Collins: "Now how did you know Vice President Biden called me? Geez. He told me it was a secret call. We just talked about my frustration that I support the provisions in the Defense bill on 'don't ask, don't tell' and yet the process is such that it's forcing me to cast a vote against proceeding to the bill in order to protect minority rights. He seemed to understand that. Having been a senator for as long as Joe Biden was, he has a great understanding for the frustrations."

Ted: "So, he called to try to persuade you?"

Collins: "No, it was a discussion. He knows he doesn't have to persuade me on the underlying issue. I agree with it."

A footnote to that conversation: After their call Collins went to the Senate floor to plead with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid one last time for what she calls an open process that allows her colleagues to offer amendments to change the bill. A spokesman for Reid made clear to us, no deal. Democrats insist Republicans will in fact have ample opportunity to offer amendments – after the election.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Iamnoone

    "Why don't they leave well enough alone and gaga can go back to where ever she came and be quiet."

    Similar thoughts were expressed when it came to blacks serving. It might not happen today or in the near future but bigotry will be stamped out eventually.

    September 21, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Just Annie

    Dear military homophobes: You have already been sharing showers and baracks with gay military members. You just don't know it. Why? Because they haven't hit on you, approached you, propositioned you, or assaulted you. They are simply standing alongside you as your brothers in arms, fighting the good fight. Shame on all of you. And shame on Republicans for using member of the armed forces as pawns in political games. Grow a spine and do the right thing. These gay men and women are U.S. tax-paying citizens. They simply want to serve with honor.

    September 21, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Marty, FL

    It is past time to end the misguided policy of DADT. The majority of Americans (Republicans, Democrats & Independents alike) support repeal of this discrimination.

    All American service men & women should be allowed to continue serving our country with honor.

    September 21, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. stufit

    Love the liberal name calling in these posts. Please keep it up. It inspires us so much. By the way Spence, the recession began in December 2007, after the libs took the majority in Congress.

    September 21, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Republicans No

    Why do republicans says no all the time when American want the bill pass. How would you feel if your son or daughter is open gay serving our country risking there lives and the law does not protect them for being in the service open gay. I am going to vote with the demoncrate to get rid of the republicans.

    September 21, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Mike

    It's just a game the Republicans want to play. They plan to vote against the bill even after they water it down with their own amendments. They want to grandstand and grab headlines on FOX unfair and unbalanced entertainment station. Stop the discrimination and let the gays serve unconditionally like every other American. However, they should be held to the same standards of conduct as everyone in the military. Did we wait on studies to integrate the women and blacks into the military? If so, we would have never integrated them into the military.

    September 21, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Ken in NC

    I really admire Senators Collins and Snowe. They do not just give in to the directions of their leaders. They stand behind their beleifs and stand for the people that elected them. That's what Senators and House Members should all do.

    September 21, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Laura, Boston

    Wasn't it President Obama who PROMISED transparency under his administration?

    Don't see any of that in this bill....or the health bill....or the cap and trade bill....

    You all wonder why the Republican are the party of no..

    Now you Know!

    September 21, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Mark from Louisiana

    Harry will be arrogant no more after November.....good riddance

    September 21, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. tony

    pass it! homophobic troops can go home if they don't like it.

    September 21, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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