At a fundraiser in San Jose on Sunday, President Obama slammed Republicans for jeering Stephen Hill, a gay soldier who asked about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell during the GOP presidential debate in Orlando, Florida:
“Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what’s happened to that party, are puzzled by what’s happening to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change,” he said, to applause. “It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay.” “That’s not reflective of who we are,” he added. “This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country. 2008 was an important direction. 2012 is a more important election.”
Former GOP Govs. Jon Huntsman (UT) and Gary Johnson (NM) condemned the audience’s response, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who claims to not have heard the boos, also apologized on Friday, saying, “I condemn the people who booed that gay soldier. That soldier is serving our country. I thank him for his service to our country. I’m sure he’s doing an excellent job. I hope he’s safe and I hope he returns safely and does his mission well.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) spokeswoman Alice Stewart said in an email to ABC News, “There was booing and cheering throughout the debate – Michele didn’t comment on any of it.” Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry all declined to comment on the incident.