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Sen. John McCain appeared on Meet the Press on NBC Sunday and told host David Gregory that many in the military do not want to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Gregory asked McCain how his currently reluctance to change the policy squares with his statement in 2006 that if senior military leaders were to call for a repeal, then McCain would support them. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen called for such a change in senate hearings last month, and CENTCOM head Gen. David Petraeus recently said that he doubted soldiers care about the sexual orientation of their comrades.
Gregory asked McCain, "Why doesn't that meet your standard of 2006 for you to say, 'OK, it's time to change views'?"
"Because, as I said back then, that we need to have a careful examination, and Admiral Mullen was, as quote, 'speaking personally,'" said McCain. "Just this week, commandant of the Marine Corps said that he did not want 'don't ask, don't tell' repealed. There are many in the military who do not want to. We are going to go through, hopefully, a yearlong study that will hopefully also have the feelings of the men and women who are serving. But, David, what -- also the chief of staff of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Army pointed out we're in two wars. We have the highest trained, most professional, best military in history. We have the highest retention, highest recruitment in history. And they're all saying, 'Wait a minute. Before we change this, let's make sure we go through a careful examination, ranging from what you heard Admiral Mullen say, his "personal opinion," to what the commandant of the Marine Corps said, he doesn't want it changed. So it's clear that we need to do be very careful as to how we move forward on whether we change this policy or not."
Watch the exchange below.