Only last week, the conservative Nebraska Democrat announced he would not vote for repeal before the Pentagon finished its year-long review. "Nelson’s support brings the total number of votes in the Senate Armed Services Committee to 15," reports the Wonk Room. "Enough to attach the delayed-implementation amendment (offered by Lieberman (I-CT)) to the Defense Authorization measure on Thursday. When the amendment passes in committee, it would require 60 votes to strip repeal from the bill during the floor debate."
"The White House and Gates seemingly didn’t want a vote this year. Activists wouldn’t let up. Murphy, Levin, and Lieberman put in a heroic effort to salvage repeal. And in my estimation, when Levin was one vote away in the Senate committee, White House officials realized the repeal train was leaving without them and not hopping aboard was a no-win situation. If it passed, they would get no credit; if it failed by one vote, activists would castigate them for withholding support. This compromise could still fail, and make no mistake, the deal was brokered by the White House, which then treated it as the redheaded stepchild it never wanted in the first place. But the outcome — win or lose — now has the administration's fingerprints on it, even though its refrain since Monday morning has been that Congress was forcing its hand."
Politico reports the Speaker Pelosi, Levin, Lieberman and Rep. Patrick Murphy "forced" the White House to get involved at the 11th hour. "'They got the message, I think, actually really from Pelosi that [Congress was] going to try to do this with or without the White House. ... They could be part of it or not be part of it,' said Richard Socarides, liaison to the gay community under President Bill Clinton. 'She figured if Congress tried to get something done and failed, the White House would be blamed. If it tried to get something done and succeeded, and they stood on the sidelines, they’d look like jerks, and it would sort of make the president look bad. It was her leadership and her willingness to be out in front on this at the end that forced their hand.'"