Rick Perry tried to reinvigorate his flailing presidential campaign during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this afternoon, as he doubled down on his anti-gay messaging and promised to “absolutely” prohibit gays and lesbians from serving in the armed forces. The Texas governor stood by his controversial Iowa ad, which accuses President Obama of denying children the right to “openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” telling Blitzer, “you can’t even have a Christmas party, you can’t even say a prayer in school.”
He also explained that organizations should have the “choice” of discriminating against LGBT people while receiving federal dollars “if those dollars are being used in an appropriate way,” before launching into his support for the now defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:
BLITZER: If you were president would you go back and not allow gays to serve openly in the United States military?
PERRY: Absolutely. I think Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell worked fine. Listen, I wore the uniform….and this president to use the military, and he’s used the military twice, Wolf and both times, I think to get support from his base. But particularly on the gays in the military issue, he made the decision that he was going to respond to his base by pushing through and pushing through Congress when he had the votes to openly serve as gay members of the military. I didn’t agree with that. We have two wars going on, unit cohesiveness, the problems that that can cause, those are real.
BLITZER: But military commanders tell me, in the past few months since the policy has changed, they’ve had no problems. Including the commandant of the Marine Corps, who was originally opposed .
PERRY: Well, I’m just telling you the members of the military I talked to, when this was being talked about, I didn’t talk to anyone who was for it…