By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com December 12 2011 3:18 PM ET
During an interview with an Iowa editorial board Friday, Mitt Romney came out in support of gays serving openly in the military — which sounded different in tone from his answer to the same question during a CNN debate earlier this year.
CNN anchor John King asked Romney directly in June whether he would "leave it in place, what you inherit from the Obama administration, or overturn it?"
And Romney sounded like he was in line with many of the other candidates on the stage, including Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, who said "don't ask, don't tell" should be reinstated.
"We ought to be talking about the economy and jobs," Romney started his answer, "but given the fact you are insistent, the answer is I believe 'don't ask, don't tell' should have been kept in place until conflict was over."
Thinking he'd gotten his answer, King then moved down the line to the other candidates. But Romney seemed to offer an expanded version of that answer when asked by an interviewer with The Des Moines Register Friday, "How do you feel about gays serving openly in the military?"
This time Romney's answer was more in line with one given in June by former candidate Herman Cain, who had said he was opposed to repeal of DADT but felt reinstating it would be a "distraction."
“That’s already occurred," Romney told the Register. "I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage. I was not comfortable making the change during a period of conflict, due to the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on, but those wars are winding down, and moving in that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.”
Meanwhile, new front-runner Gingrich has reiterated his support for reinstating "don't ask, don't tell." The Washington Times reports that he returned a candidate questionnaire to the conservative Military Culture Coalition and would seek an extensive review of DADT if elected president. Romney has not returned the questionnaire, according to the group.
Via ThinkProgress, watch both videos of Romney's answers below: