Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) insisted on Sunday that there was no rift of opinion between him and his wife over the issue of repealing the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy. Cindy McCain doesn't endorse immediate repeal despite recording an ad accusing political leaders of forcing gay servicemen to live a lie, her husband stressed.
"I respect the First Amendment rights of every member of my family," Senator McCain joked in what was his 59th appearance on Meet The Press.
The Senator was confirming a clarification of position that his wife had made two days prior. Earlier in the week, Cindy McCain appeared in an ad for the NOH8 campaign, an organization that promotes the rights of LGBT youth. But on Friday she said she backed her husband's position on the controversial policy, which is that another study must be done to see whether the law should or should not be repealed.
Senator McCain has been accused of backtracking on his stance as well. Several years ago, he stressed that he would be open to the idea of repeal if U.S. military leadership approved it. But once several of the top officials started speaking out against the policy, McCain moved the goal posts. He wanted to wait for a Pentagon-commissioned study on the ban.
That study's findings were reported last week. And the preliminary data showed that service members would have little to no problem with openly gay colleagues. Even then, however, McCain was not sold. The study was leaked, he stressed (arguing that he couldn't be sure about its veracity) and it didn't measure the right issues. And even if the right study was conducted, McCain went on, Congress would need time to examine and debate it.
"You and I have not seen that study," he said of the leaked findings. "And this study was directed on how to implement the repeal not whether the repeal should take place or not."
"A thorough and complete study of the effects, not how to implement a repeal, but the effects on morale and battle effectiveness, that's what I want," he added. "And once we get this study we need to have hearings, and we need to examine it, and we need to look at whether it is the kind of study that we wanted."