Bush-Cheney campaign pressured papers to keep campaign manager’s sexuality secret

By John Byrne
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 18:25 EDT
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Two New York newspapers received calls from the Bush-Cheney campaign during the Republican National Convention urging them not to run a story suggesting that the campaign manager and public face of the campaign was gay, RAW STORY has learned.

Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman, who is now in the running to be chairman of the Republican Party, has repeatedly refused to answer questions about his sexuality in both public and private settings.

Steve Schmidt, deputy communications director for the Bush-Cheney campaign, also refused to deny that Mehlman was gay on the record in a telephone call with the activist weblog, blogACTIVE, which has been outing homophobic public officials, including California Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) and former Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.). Schmidt did not return a call seeking comment today.

RAW STORY was party to an investigation of claims Mehlman was gay in the run-up to the election but no one was willing to go on the record.

Two of the sources told blogACTIVE, that they had been pressured by the Republican Party to remain silent. The site adds that two New York City newspapers “were called by press folks at the Bush campaign attempting to kill the Mehlman story.” So as to protect the reporters involved, this site cannot post the papers’ names online.

Mehlman, 37, who is single, spearheaded the Bush re-election campaign. The campaign used aggressively anti-gay tactics, including the mailing of a flyer in some states which suggested liberals would allow gay marriage and ban bibles. Many analysts believe Bush’s support for anti-gay marriage measures carried him to victory.

The Washington Blade asked Mehlman about openly gay staff in an interview in May.

“I’m not going to comment or provide information on the private activities of campaign staff,” he said, when asked if there were out gays among the president’s campaign advisers. “The president is leading based on principle. His principles are reflective of his values and his values are compassionate and conservative.”

RAW STORY revealed last month that both the Chief Financial Officer and the number two political adviser to the Republican National Committee are openly gay.

Neither would answer questions relating to the party’s policies, which many see as homophobic.

Asked about his sexuality Wednesday, Mehlman hung up the phone.

The 2004 Republican Party platform, approved in August, denounces prejudice and trumpets equality.

It begins, “Ronald Reagan believed that people were basically good, and had the right to be free. He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst thing a person could be guilty of.”

The platform includes a bolded section titled, “Ensuring Equal Opportunities.” The section leads with the sentence, “Our nation is a land of opportunity for all, and our communities must represent the idea of equality for every citizen.”

Such equality and freedom from prejudice, apparently, doesn’t apply to gay Americans.

“We believe that neither federal nor state judges nor bureaucrats should force states to recognize other living arrangements as equivalent to marriage.”

“After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millenia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization, the union of a man and a woman in marriage.”

This story has been republished. The original sister site of Raw Story, where the original was published, is no longer in use.

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