A New Hampshire state representative and prominent supporter of Texas governor Rick Perry's presidential campaign who said he approved of the booing of a gay soldier during last month's Republican presidential primary debate has been called on to apologize and resign.
Over the weekend, Al Baldasaro told ThinkProgress's Scott Keyes that he thought the booing was "great," because "I was so disgusted over that gay marine coming out." Of the soldier, Stephen Hill, Baldasaro also said, "He doesn't realize it, but when the shit hits the fan, you want your brothers covering your back, not looking at your back."
Baldasaro said Tuesday that while his comments had brought him unwanted attention from "10 or 15" reporters, he stood by them.
"I already said what I said," Baldasaro said, quoted by the New Hampshire Union Leader. "This is just getting to be a big thing because this is the political season."
Baldasaro, a former Marine, said it was against military rules for active soldiers to appear in uniform at political functions. "He had no business being there. That's what I meant when I said it was disgusting. It was concerning him coming out of the closet on national TV, pretty much at a political function."
Jeff Ballard, Baldasaro's Democratic opponent, issued a press release Wednesday, condemning Baldasaro's remarks and calling on him to apologize and resign. "As a veteran and a New Hampshire citizen," Ballard's statement said, "I found his applauding the booing of an Iraq War Veteran appalling. Rep. Baldasaro may have freedom of speech, but it exists because Stephen Hill, the veteran he called a 'disgrace,' risked his own life to protect it. ... Republican House Speaker Bill O'Brien should immediately call for him to resign and remove him as Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the State House. Rep. Baldasaro is clearly incapable of being an advocate for all veterans."