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Cain Says He Should Have Spoken Up for Gay Soldier

by Douglas Birch
Monday Oct 3, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that he should not have stayed silent after the audience at a GOP debate booed a gay soldier serving in Iraq.

The Georgia businessman told ABC's "This Week" that it would have been "appropriate" for him to have defended the soldier. None of the candidates on stage at the Sept. 22 forum responded to the boos.

"In retrospect, because of the controversy it has created and because of the different interpretations that it could have had, yes, that probably - that would have been appropriate," Cain said, when asked if he should have asked the audience to respect the soldier.

Cain said it wasn't immediately clear to him what had drawn the audience's scorn, adding, "I happen to think that maybe they were booing the whole 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal more so than booing that soldier."

The so-called don't ask, don't tell policy barring gays from serving openly in the military was officially lifted last month.

Cain's remarks came after President Barack Obama on Saturday chastised the GOP candidates at the debate, saying one of the duties of the nation's commander in chief is to stand up for Americans in uniform.

Separately, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that the GOP candidates at the debate should have defended the soldier. "The fact is we should honor every man and woman who is serving in the military and should in no way treat them with anything but the highest regard," he told CBS' "Face the Nation."

McCain added that the GOP candidates may have been thinking about how to respond to the soldier's question rather than paying attention to the booing. "I would bet that every Republican on that stage did not agree with that kind of behavior," he said.

Last December, McCain led Senate opposition to the repeal of the restriction on gay service.

The soldier, Stephen Hill, was booed when he asked via a recorded video if any of the candidates would try to circumvent progress for gays and lesbians in uniform. Hill told the GOP hopefuls that when he was first deployed to Iraq last year, when don't ask, don't tell was still in effect, "I had to lie about who I was."

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  • cc, 2011-10-03 12:07:34

    Hey Cain, Too little, too late. Trying to make yourself look human after the fact just shows the world what an opportunist you really are.

  • , 2011-10-04 17:13:20

    He’s a political hack like all the rest of him. His success in the business world allows him to distance himself from regular black people, but the sad part is that the republican party, while they smile politely in front of him, will lock their doors a he walks past them. He may think he’s in their club, but they will happily send him to the back of the bus. Republicans are nothing if not consistent.

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