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OK, so what caused Barack Obama to change his mind and actively press for repeal of DADT this year? Offhand, I'd say there are three leading contenders:
Because I'm a milquetoast centrist sellout, I'm going to punt and say that the answer is all three. Obama really has planned to do it all along during his first term but without a more specific timetable; the pressure from gay and lefty advocacy groups helped push congressional leaders into action and they in turn pressured Obama; and there was probably some additional political calculus related to the possibility of Democrats losing their House majority in November. That's my guess, anyway.
1At least, I assume it's apocryphal. I managed to find a reference to it from I.F. Stone in 1969 once, but I've never been able to track it back any further than that.