Mitt Romney couldn’t bring himself to condemn the booing of a gay soldier serving in Iraq during an interview with the the editor and publisher of the Union Leader yesterday. The former Massachusetts governor admitted that he heard the audience jeering the soldier — who was asking the candidates about the recent repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — at last month’s GOP debate, but said, “I have not made it my practice to say, I disagree with this person, I agree with that person”:
ROMNEY: I don’t recall whether this soldier, whether people were booing his question or just booing…
UNION LEADER: They booed as soon as he identified as a gay person.
ROMNEY: You have to look at that. I don’t know when they booed and I don’t know why they booed. But I will tell you, that the boos and applause hasn’t always coincided with my own views, but I haven’t stepped in to try and say, ‘this one is right, this one is wrong.’ Instead, I focus on the things I think I will say.
UNION LEADER: I ask because Herman Cain over the weekend was asked about it and he said in effect that he should have criticized whoever was booing in the audience.
ROMNEY: That’s…I understand his thoughts.
President Obama spoke out against the GOP’s refusal to condemn the booing from the debate stage during his Saturday address to the Human Rights Council. “We dont’ 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,” he said. “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.”
Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Herman Cain are the only candidates to publicly distance themselves from the jeering after last month’s debate.