In a Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Arizona senator
John McCain cast doubt on the validity of the Pentagon’s "don't ask,
don't tell" repeal study and said that any end to the policy will
require further congressional hearings.
“I will stand that I want a thorough and complete study of the effect on morale and battle effectiveness of the United States military," McCain told Meet the Press host David Gregory. "I will listen, as I’ve said for years, to our military leaders and not a [study] that is leaked, as we know this town's been good at that.”
Gregory pressed McCain on details of the Pentagon Working Group study, leaked last week to The Washington Post, which found that more than 70% of service members who responded to a survey believe DADT repeal will have a positive, mixed, or negligible effect on the armed forces.
“You and I have not seen that study,” McCain replied, and referred to military leaders who have expressed reservations or continue to actively support "don't ask, don't tell" — namely Marine Corps commandant James Amos, whose recent comments opposing repeal have frustrated Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an advocate for ending the 17-year-old ban on openly gay service members.
“We need to look at whether it’s the kind of study that we wanted,” McCain said. “It isn’t in my view because I wanted a study to determine the effects of the repeal on battle effectiveness and morale.”
McCain also addressed wife Cindy McCain's apparent flip-flop on the issue. She recently appeared in a No H8 campaign video denouncing DADT, yet tweeted Friday evening that she stands by her husband’s views.
“I respect the First Amendment rights of every member of my family,” Senator McCain said. He said his wife’s position was also in support of a “complete and thorough” review on the effects of repeal.
Update: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis issued the following statement in response to McCain's remarks:
"Sen. McCain is clearly out of touch, not only with the American
people, but also the Pentagon and our troops," Sarvis said. "McCain seems to be saying
he wants a do-over because he doesn't like the findings and
recommendations in the Pentagon report going to Secretary Gates. In
other words, McCain is telling the Pentagon: Keep working until you
produce the outcome I'm looking for."
Watch the NBC video clip below.