Presidential hopefuls Herman Cain and
Tim Pawlenty have retreated on their calls to reinstate “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” the Clinton-era law that bars gay and bisexual troops
from serving openly.
Both Republicans had previously made
unequivocal calls to bring back the law and keep the policy in place.
Gates eyes June certification of DADT repeal.)
In January, Pawlenty, a former
Minnesota governor, told the AFA's Bryan Fischer that as president he
would work to reinstate the law. A month later, he went further,
that he's okay with withholding funds for implementing the law's
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's
Pizza, also told Fischer that he would back reinstatement of DADT.
But both men backed off during Monday
night's presidential debate in New Hampshire, leaving only former
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum to call for the law's return.
Cain said that while he wouldn't have
overturned “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” he doesn't believe it wise to
undo it now.
“Now that they have changed it, I
wouldn't create a distraction trying to turn it over as president,”
Cain said. “Our men and women have too many other things to be
concerned about rather than have to deal with that as a distraction.”
Pawlenty said he would defer to
military commanders: “We're a nation at two wars. I think we need
to pay deference to our military commanders, particularly our
combatant commanders. And in this case I would take my cues from
them as to how this affects the military going forward. I know they
expressed concerns, many of the combatant commanders did, when this
was originally repealed by the Obama administration.”
Most of the other candidates said they
supported the military gay ban, but none went so far as to
unequivocally call for its return, with the exception of Santorum.
“The job of the United States
military is to protect and defend the people of this country,”
Santorum said. “It is not for social experimentation. It should
be repealed.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this