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Gays-in-military issue cost Sam Nunn the Pentagon

U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia was a casualty of Bill Clinton’s decision to make gays in the military the first big issue of his presidency, according to Taylor Branch’s new book, “The Clinton Tapes.”

This from the New York Review of Books:

David Mixner and other leaders of the gay community had advised him against taking up the cause so early. Clinton drove ahead in spite of their advice, and gave a taste of victory to enemies who would prove relentless.

There would be other casualties from this early defeat. Clinton thought of appointing Senator Sam Nunn as secretary of defense in 1996, but the memory of photographs of Nunn touring a navy ship and shivering at the prospect of gay sailors in such close quarters assured a veto of his nomination by the liberal wing of the party.

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