Former President Bill Clinton, who signed “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” into law, says former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell convinced him on the policy.

Speaking Tuesday with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, Clinton said that he didn't choose the policy that allows gay troops to serve in the military provided they remain closeted and celibate.

“I accepted it because it was better than an absolute ban,” he said. “I was promised it would be better than it was.”

Clinton campaigned on the promise that he would allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

He told Couric that he only backed DADT after it was clear Congress was heading in the opposite direction and that Powell sold him on the compromise.

“Now, when Colin Powell sold me on don't pass, don't tell, here's what he said it would be. Gay service members would never get in trouble for going to gay bars, marching in gay rights parades as long as they weren't in uniform. That was what they were promised. … That's a very different 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' than we got.”

“But the world has changed now,” he continued, “there's a huge shift in opinion, and I think we're going to prevail in this.”

Clinton was asked about the policy on the same day Republican Senators blocked an effort to repeal the 1993 law.

Powell has said he now favors repeal of the law.