John McCain Changes Position On Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
John McCain said three years ago he’d support getting rid of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” when the top military brass determined it was time to do so.
“The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to,” McCain told an audience of college students during the “Hardball” college tour on MSNBC.
But facing Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s declaration that it’s time to end that policy, and hearing the same view from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mike Mullen, McCain sang a different tune.
“The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the commander in chief, and we are moving out accordingly,” Gates said.
In response, the Arizona senator declared himself “disappointed” in the testimony by Mullen and Gates. The senator said Gates should be asking whether to repeal the ban, not acting as if it had already been repealed.
“At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” McCain said bluntly, before describing it as “imperfect but effective.”
McCain faces primary challenges from the right in his upcoming Senate race, but his spokeswoman claims he’s being consistent.
McCain communications director Brooke Buchanan says her boss has not, in fact, shifted his position on the controversial issue.
She notes that Mullen said repeatedly that he was speaking for himself, personally, not for the military. And she dismissed Gates’s testimony because he was delivering the Obama administration’s line.
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