I want to make sure that when we revert 'don't ask, don't tell,' it's gone through a process and we've built a consensus or at least a clarity of what my expectations are so that it works. My first obligation as the president is to make sure that I keep the American people safe and that our military is functioning effectively. Although I have consistently said I would repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,' I believe that the way to do it is make sure that we are working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be.
Earlier this summer, the House considered a shift to the policy, and 75 percent now approve of allowing gays to serve. John McCain has indicated that he would keep the policy in place.
In the interview Obama declined to comment however, on whether his attorney general would support a lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages in favor of state's rights.