Why did Collins shift now? She is up for reelection in 2008, and her opponent’s camp sees that as the reason.

“An original co-sponsor of legislation to lift the ban, [US Representative] Tom Allen has been a consistent supporter of equality and an opponent of the flawed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” says Valerie Martin, campaign manager for Allen, who is challenging Collins. “It seems as though a tough election-year challenge may be part of Susan Collins’s potential change of heart.”

Perhaps she is playing politics, but those champing at the bit to repeal DADT may just consider the ranking Republican a better ally in the war against the policy than a senator-wannabe who has opposed the law from the very beginning.

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