Most GOP presidential candidates kept
mum a day after President Obama chided them for not coming to the
defense of a booed gay soldier.
While speaking to a crowd of roughly
3,000 at a
gay fundraiser on Saturday, Obama criticized the Republican
candidates who attended last month's Fox News/Google presidential
debate. At the forum, Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq,
submitted a videotaped question via YouTube. Referring to the recent
repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” Hill, dressed in an Army
t-shirt, asked, “Do you intend to circumvent the progress that has
been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?”
The audience booed Hill's question, but
cheered Santorum when he called DADT
repeal a “tragic social experiment” and vowed he would reinstate
the policy, if elected president.
“We don't believe in the kind of
smallness that says it's okay for a stage full of political leaders –
one of whom could end up being the President of the United States –
being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don't believe in
that. We don't believe in them being silent since. You want to be
commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and
women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it's not
politically convenient,” Obama said.
During an appearance on ABC's This
Week, Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, agreed he
should have spoken up.
“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 answered when asked if he should
have asked the audience to respect the soldier.
“I happen to think that maybe they
were booing the whole 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal more so than
booing that soldier,” he added.
According to ABC
News, only Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign
responded to a request for comment on the president's remarks.
“Michele honors the service of every
man and woman in our armed forces,” said Alice Stewart, a
spokeswoman for the Bachmann campaign. “As commander-in-chief, she
will lead from the front and not put them in harm's way without a
vital national interest and a clear mission.”