June 5th, 2007
09:08 PM ET
4 years ago

Front-runners: Don't change 'don't ask, don't tell'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - All three Republican front-runners at the debate think the military's policy of "don't ask, don't tell" toward homosexuals in its ranks should be left untouched.

When specifically asked if the policy should be changed, Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, "At a time of war, you don't make fundamental changes like this."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney agreed that this isn't the time to change the policy, but he suggested that "we can look at it down the road."

Romney admitted that when he first heard of the policy he thought "it sounded awful silly and didn't think that it would be very effective, but I turned out to be wrong."

When Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was asked the same question, he answered that the policy is working and said, "It would be a terrific mistake to even reopen the issue."

When all of the Republican candidates were asked if they believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the United States military, none of them spoke up.

–CNN Internet Producer Eric Weisbrod


Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • Race to '08 • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Jerel Poor, St Louis Missouri

    It's a shame that Republicans would want not want to have the help of certain Americans in the fight on terror simply on the basis of sexual orientation.

    June 5, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  2. Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois

    The candidates were willing to express their views on a policy that directly affects gays and lesbians in the military but were not so willing to express their feelings on whether or not gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly. I just wish the candidates of the Republican Party would just openly say what they believe and stick with it rather than side stepping the issues.

    June 5, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. Allen Sircy, Nashville, TN

    Ron Paul nailed this question and no one ever brings him up. It's Romney, McCain, and Rudy. Why did they even invite everyone else when it's already predetermined who was going to get the most camera time?

    June 5, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  4. Dave, Naples, NY

    I agree completely! Only Doctor Ron Paul gave a great answer: Gays in the military are not a problem, any more than Heterosexuals in the military! He clearly said: If someone's behavior is disruptive, homo or heterosexual, you deal with it! but there's no reason to treat them differently, -unless of course you have some political agenda. Dr. Ron Paul is right! and he's the best potential President! :)

    June 5, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. Dave, Naples, NY

    Only Doctor Ron Paul gave a clear and commonsensical answer! Homosexuals are no more disruptive than Heterosexuals, and should be treated no differently! Doctor Paul has the cure for America. It's time to take the medicine! :)

    June 5, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. Bruce, New York, NY

    I was disappointed that Rudy didn't stand up for Gays in the Military. I feel he honestly believes that they should serve openly. He should not pander to the religoius right wing of our party. He needs to win the "middle" – Conservatives will want to win and he is a winner! He was literally FIXED NYC (I lived here before, during, and after) and is pro-gay rights, pro-choice, and pro-gun control. Thank g-d – Moderate Republicans can vote with pride and Democrats/Independents will join! Rudy should not run from his convictions.... Bruce

    June 5, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  7. Jae, Oceanside, Ca

    Why does it say "front runners" then not mention Ron Paul....who actually wins the polls?
    who in my opinion also had the best answer to this question.

    June 5, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Mark, Baton Rouge , LA

    Republican Candidates from gays/lesbians in and out of the military.
    THANKS for NOTHING!

    et tu Rudy?

    Log Cabin members, your Party is WORTHLESS.

    June 5, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. Jaclyn, Queens, NY

    In watching the Republican debate tonight I was extremely saddened. For a country that touts its fairness and democracy, it is amazing to me that our presidential debates are so obviously biased. I believe that it is way too early in the election to establish “forerunners” in order to justify giving those candidates a greater amount of time to speak than the other candidates. The polls you are basing your decision for the top three candidates are inherently flawed because they are conducted by calling the public’s landline phones—this excludes much of the population (particularly younger people) as technology has made it such that cell phones are being used more than landlines, and many landlines are unlisted. Even if it was hypothetically considered that these early polls were 100% correct, the people have not been exposed to the candidates enough in order to justify giving 90% of debate time to three candidates, and 10% to the remaining seven. People should be given the CHANCE to choose who they like best and not have their choices dictated to them by a media falsely giving the impression that only one of three candidates is the most likely to win.

    June 5, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  10. Daniel, Provo, UT

    Wisely, all of them avoid adressing the question directly and instead focused on "behavior", whether you are gay or not, your behavior should not become a disturbance within our forces. I believe the name of that policy should be change to "don't ask, we don't care" as long as you honor the uniform you are wearing.

    June 5, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. Brett Huebner, Hillsboro, KS

    I can imagine the frustration of Mark from Boca Raton; Mark, if you log on again and read this, perhaps you can help me understand the current policy; I agree with some poseters that Paul had the 'best' answer, but Joe Biden had an even better answer 2 nights before. Certainly, gays should not be 'asked' teir sexual orientation, just as people are not asked theire religion when applying for a position. But if I was dismissed from a position because I openly told my religion, that might be grounds for a discrimination lawsuit. Why should it be different for gays? If people were actually dismissed from the military because they admitted they were gay [did this happen?], then it seems they were discriminated against. And if don't ask, don't tell supports this, then this seems to deeply contradict civil liberties. And it's interesting that many Republicans think the ACLU is the devil when, in fact, their platforms are quite similar: freedom for the individual; both very John Locke/Thomas Jefferson. The Log Cabin movement strikes me as an organization who believes Republicans are genuinely 'freedom' oriented. And it's hard to believe that opening up this issue would be a big deal; good gravy, I consider myself a conservative on many issues, including social issues [opposing abortion and death penalty, for instance]; but this one seems a no-brainer; as Biden said, I'm not gonna ask the guy next to me in the foxhole if he's gay; I'm gonna ask him to get my back. This policy is arcane, and should be legislated out of existence today!!!

    June 6, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  12. John, San Diego, Ca

    The fact that this is even an issue is riduclous. The army can not even find enough people to support fighting this war, evident by the large number of reservists and national guard currently serving in Iraq as well as Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Never before has our army been so streched. Yet we are kicking people out of the military just because of who they choose to have sex with. Does this not make us hypocrits? How can we fight for freedom of other nations if we are not free here in the US? Our allies allow gays and their militaries are not breaking down. In fact they actually meet thier recruiting goals. The Republicans are dead wrong on this issue. We allow felons, adulterers and people with no high school education in the military but gays are not allowed? Amazing.

    June 6, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Expat, Berlin, Germany

    Sorry but the Ron Paul cult is deaf. Paul said he supports the present policy which he then false said dealt with disruptive behavior. It doesn’t. A non-disruptive gay person can be discharged. He lectured about group rights but the question had nothing to do with group rights but whether individuals soldiers should be discharged if they are gay. He evaded the answer. It wasn’t profound it was cowardly. And when given the opportunity to say, with the others if gays should be allowed he kept his mouth shut. I support Paul when he ran for President last time. Not this time.

    June 15, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. Chris, Seattle Washington

    Peoples lives are greatly affected in a negative way everyday by this policy. I, myself, am under the gun with false allegations. This policy is being used by bigots to put a spotlight on those they assume are gay to accomplish their personal agenda. We have American Soldiers and Guardsmen living a life in hiding while at the same time protecting the American People's freedom and liberty. Now is the time to lift the ban and give all those serving equal graditude.

    December 13, 2007 11:15 am at 11:15 am |