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John McCain Contradicts John McCain On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Sen. John McCain appeared to contradict himself Tuesday, criticizing military leaders for advocating the end of the military's anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy after previously saying he would follow their lead. Mark Wilson/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption Mark Wilson/AP Photo

Sen. John McCain appeared to contradict himself Tuesday, criticizing military leaders for advocating the end of the military's anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy after previously saying he would follow their lead.

Mark Wilson/AP Photo

Sen. John McCain is apparently no longer willing to take his cues on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from the nation's military leaders. Which is intriguing since, not long ago, he indicated he was perfectly willing to.

A few years back, the Arizona Republican and 2008 GOP presidential nominee said he would wait until military leaders called for ending the policy that requires gays in the U.S. military to stay in the closet before he would do so.

Now that military leaders have said DADT should be ended, McCain is criticizing them.

As the Washington Post reports:

... Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen (testified Tuesday) to senators following President Obama's announcement that he would seek a congressional repeal of the controversial 15-year-old policy.

Mullen called repealing the policy, which bans openly gay men and lesbians from serving, "the right thing to do" and said he was personally troubled by effectively forcing service members to "lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."

Gates told the Armed Services Committee, "I fully support the president's decision.

"The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the commander in chief, and we are moving out accordingly," Gates said.

In response, the Arizona senator declared himself "disappointed" in the testimony by Mullen and Gates. The senator said Gates should be asking whether to repeal the ban, not acting as if it had already been repealed.

"At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," McCain said bluntly, before describing it as "imperfect but effective."

The WaPo reporter smelled politics:

Since losing to Obama in the 2008 election, McCain has become a consistent critic of the president.

He also has, for the first time in years, a serious primary fight on his hands. J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican congressman, is considering a challenge, and Chris Simcox, a founder of the Minutemen anti-immigration group, has already said he wants McCain's job.

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