November 29th, 2007
12:07 AM ET
15 years ago

General from GOP debate linked to Democratic campaign

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) - During Wednesday night's CNN-YouTube debate retired brigadier general Keith Kerr, posed a powerful question about gays in the military. The general had been invited to attend the debate and was given an opportunity to address whether his question was answered.

Following the debate, CNN learned that Kerr was listed as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans For Hillary Clinton Steering Committee.

CNN Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of the debate, David Bohrman, says, "We regret this, and apologize to the Republican candidates. We never would have used the General's question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidate."

Prior to the debate, CNN had verified his military background and that he had not contributed any money to any presidential candidate.

Following the debate, Kerr told CNN that he's done no work for the Clinton campaign. He says he is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans and was representing no one other than himself.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Macy, Los Angeles, CA

    "Someone had to call the Republicans out on their homophobic agenda!!"

    Um, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was Bill Clinton's baby. I'm surprised that you think Bill Clinton is a homophobe, but he does fit the profile.

    November 29, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. andrea j, providence ri.

    If lies and deceit are what it takes to get your political point across , what does that say about Hillary and her campaign and her supporters?

    November 29, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Lance, Beaverton, OR

    Everybody has obviously forgot that this is a REPUBLICAN PRIMARY debate. These should be issues that REPUBLICANS are interested in. That's what primaries are about.

    November 29, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Hillarylover in SA

    It was a very good question. Guess what? has any noticed that all the men up there on that platform are all WHITE? What kind of message is that sending our country. At least on the democratic side we got half black, half mexican and ALL WOMAN.

    November 29, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. John Garcia- Ventura, California

    Please hold these people accountable for these actions or lack of knowledge(Mr. Cooper) as they say. It is not that the Candidates were asked these questions, but they were asked by a supposedly Republican audience, that was very deceptive and bad politics. This is simply unacceptable and more needs to be said about this stunt! This is exactly why the American people are losing trust in our media. How stupid do they think we are, there were three people who were obvious Democrats that questioned the Republican candidates(not undecided voters), possibly a few more, what does that say about CNN?
    When the general was asked by Mr. Cooper if his question was answered, what did he not understand about the candidate's answers, they said the current policy is working, just because the general didn't like the answers does not mean they didn't answer, he does understand english, right?ps. I didn't know audience members were given follow-up questions and a YouTube question? If that isn't biased I don't know what is? And the supposedly Republican undecided voter who is going to vote for John Edwards, that was a nice touch.

    This is a complete joke, only thing is we as Americans are not laughing, I will put my money where my mouth is and start looking for other news channels to get unbiased information as best I can.
    Good job CNN, no wonder you keep losing more viewers!

    November 29, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. therealist

    Kerr has been an activist against the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy for years. He appeared on CNN twice in 2003 to discuss his opposition to a policy that dismisses men and women from service for revealing that they are gay.

    Kerr said that CNN "never asked" him about his parties preference so he "never told" them he is a member of Hillary's campaign.

    Image that, and coming from the very ones that are complaining about "don't ask, don't tell" policies..

    November 29, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Lance, Alamogordo, NM

    There is more fraud involved here. When the "General" was being introduced, he made it sound like he was a retired One Star Army General who served for 43 years. My wife and I immediately knew that the statement was false - the numbers don't add up. But the majority of Americans don't understand that. If you look up his name on the internet, you will see his resume and soon find out that he spent 7 years as an enlisted man in the Army during the 1950s. After that, he spent years in the Army Reserve until retirement as a Colonel and then in the California National Guard (in the San Fransico area, by the way) where he achieved the rank of Brig General. Now I hate to say negative things about the National Guard, especially with how well they are now performing in Iraq and Afganistan, but anybody in the know understands that the way to General in the National Guard is through politics and time - period. So the bottomline is that - although I had never heard of this guy until last night - the combination of "Brig General", "43 years" and "openly gay" told me what this guy's real background was before he had even uttered another word about the question he wanted to ask.

    Shame on you once again CNN for another attempt at trying to fool the American people. And beyond that, to act as if you had no knowledge about who this guy really was. He's all over the internet.

    November 29, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Keith Detweiler Marysville, PA

    Well, since all was fair and above board I will be interested to see the Dems debate on a news outlet with better ratings than CNN. It will be interesting to see them on FOX. Won't happen though because the Dems cannot answer tough questions that are not scripted and planted. This format with CNN and you-tube is a joke for anyone serious about our political future.

    November 29, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Bill Reed, San Mateo, CA

    "Prior to the debate, CNN had verified ...that he had not contributed any money to any presidential candidate."

    Yeah, CNN should have been been more stringent in its vetting of campaign affiliations, just to avoid this kind of dust-up. But debates, live or YouTubed, SHOULD be open to anyone. I'd hate for only hand-picked Republicans to be permitted to ask questions of Republican candidates. It would look to much like a George W. Bush "townhall" event!

    November 29, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Greger, Pittsburgh, PA

    That's twice CNN. You have lost all credibility as a news organization.

    November 29, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Way to go CNN! You have a real knack for losing your credibility with viewers and therefore continually erroding your viewership. Maybe you could export this skill on cd to Al Jazeera, do you think? Or maybe you wouldn't want to hurt their viewership as they're not in that evil America country.

    November 29, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. CJ, Watsonville CA

    Does anyone find it troubling that CNN had this General on their network at least twice in the last 5 years, yet they didn't know who he was? What about the other three that worked for other Democratic candidates?

    I applaud the Republican candidates for going on a CNN sponsered debate. We certainly don't agree with everything they say, but at least they are willing to subject themselves to this sort of bias. The Democratic candidates won't go to a Fox sponsered debate because they are "to biased".

    It just goes to show you that the Republican Party is still the party with answers. They may not be the right answers all the time, but they are still answers to questions from both sides of the aisle. Shame on the Democratic Party for not having the courage to do the same.

    November 29, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    What's the big deal? It's the content and quality of the questions (and answers!) that matter. Who cares the person is a Democrat, Republican or "Log Cabin Republican?

    Much ado about nothing.

    November 29, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Truth Seeker DC

    Bill Reed

    it might also look like a CNN democratic Hillary love fest debate. CNN has no credibility when it comes to political news. I was disappointed I wanted to find out what the candidates like most diamonds or pearls. Now I don't know who to vote for. arrrgh.

    November 29, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. John, New York, NY

    The issue is not should these debates be only open to Republicans. While they were all valid questions, what CNN did was not tell us (the public) who the people asking the questions really were! CNN should accurately represent who is posing the question. If they are a Hillary campaign supporter or have declared that they will support a specific candidate, say what they really are. Don't say the question is from an "undecided voter". If they are supporting a candidate, be honest. This is why CNN is losing it's credibility and ratings.

    November 29, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. Russ, Phoenix AZ

    everyone keeps asking why this is an issue. sure the question was valid and extremely important, but equally important is the structure of the debate.

    if planted questions were allowed to be asked, then it is reasonable to imagine that ALL future questions would come from the opposing party. at this point in the campaign, Reps and Dems are NOT debating the other party - they are debating each other. in plain terms, such questions are inappropriate workarounds to the nature of the debate.

    so if you're not a fan of the process, let's just throw out all the rules, skip over examining candidate differences and go straight to a 15-head battle royal! tragedy and bloodshed always makes good television - better television, at least, than the "boring" presidential debate that you all must suffer through.

    November 30, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Michael Wills, Sebastopol, CA

    So the opposition can't ask a question? Who cares who's asking it, if the question is a valid question, and this one certainly was for millions of Americans, removing it from rebroadcasts is censorship, plain and simple.

    December 1, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Skip Sloan, Spokane W

    Why do you ask about professionalism?

    Our troops are every bit of professionalism which WE understand.

    The reason we were so long to allow women among those troops arraigned on the fronts, is the same reason. These professional are not asked to deploy with gays.

    Women, within our forces are not asked to shower with men. Women within the forces are not asked to be sexual objects within their ranks.

    It is not about our services not being professional enough. It is about about the professionalism we attribute to our servicemen.

    Our men deserve to not be held as sexual objects, by those others in the shower.

    December 2, 2007 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  19. raz

    Why's a former president pressing his wife's presidential nomination?? What legal ramifications will/have developed given he's acively using USG and US Tax Payers $$ to further his spouse's presidential initiaties??

    January 26, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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