In the wake of Joe Manchin's nay vote yesterday on don't-ask-don't-tell, one fuming Dem aide characterized it (the sole "no" by a Senate Democrat) as a "stunt" vote, since the motion clearly was going to fall short from approval anyway.
Manchin defended himself in an explanation to reporters, featured here by TPM:
"I do not support its repeal at this time," he said in the statement. "I would like to make clear that my concern is not with the idea of repealing DADT, but rather an issue of timing."
Manchin said the Senate testimony from military branch chiefs last week -- most of whom said they were opposed to repealing the ban, but that they could implement it if asked to do so -- was part of his decision not to back repeal for the time being.
"My concerns, as highlighted in the recent defense survey and through the testimony of the service chiefs, are with the effect implementation of the repeal would have on our front line combat troops at this time," he said.
Manchin said he is "very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal," but added that he needs more time "to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia."
UPDATE: Manchin took some heat for the vote today at a Capitol Hill rally. (Politico)