Senate Democrats

Reid Spokesman Responds To McCain’s Latest Shift On “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Washington, DC—Jim Manley, spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, released the following statement in response  to Senator McCain’s latest reason for opposing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” despite our military leadership urging repeal:

“Senator McCain has been so all over the map on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ that we need an atlas to keep track of his positions. Now he’s telling us he won’t do what our military leadership has urged Congress to do because of the economy? If Senator McCain truly cared about the economy, he could start by getting his Republican colleagues to stop holding middle class tax cuts hostage to giveaways for millionaires and CEOs.

“Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen have told us that repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ immediately is the right thing to do for our military. Democrats will listen to their opinions, not Senator McCain’s constantly-changing reasons.”




On Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:

Then:  "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it."  (10/18/06, Hardball With Chris Matthews

Now (after the leadership of the military said we ought to change the policy): “I will not agree to have this bill go forward.”  (12/3/10;

On Listening to Pentagon Study:

Then:  “I want a study done, a serious study done, to assess the impacts. That’s my position. You’re not going to change it, my friend.” [Wonk Room, 6/14/2010]

Now: MR. GREGORY: I mean, you say you wait for the study. What do you believe??SEN. McCAIN: I’m paying attention to the commandant of the Marine Corps.  (Meet the Press, 11/14/10)

On Bringing the Defense Bill to the Floor:

Then: “What I am opposed to is bringing up the Defense bill now, before the Defense Department has concluded its survey of our men and women in uniform, which gives them a chance to tell us their views about don’t ask, don’t tell.”  (9/21/10 – congressional record p. s7237)

Now (after completion of that survey):  “I will not agree to have this bill go forward.”  (12/3/10;

On Who Leads the Military:

Then: “[T]he President is responsible for leading the armed forces as Commander in Chief." (Response to Boston Globe questionnaire, 12/20/07)

Now:  “McCain casually mentions the commander in chief and defense secretary, ‘neither of which I view as a military leader.’” (12/1/10, The Daily Beast)

Then:  “No, I’ve said for a long time I — this is really something that our military commanders should be involved in since we give them responsibility to lead. And I’d like, among other things, to have the chairman of the joint chiefs to conduct an in-depth study and come up with recommendations.” [Press Conference, 6/25/2009]

Now:  “In all due respect, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not directly in charge of the troops.”  (NBC,  11/29/10)