John McCain on Meet the PressSen. John McCain once said that he would trust the opinion of military leaders to decide when it was time to end the military's controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.


Now that the Congress is considering repealing the policy, and he is facing a primary challenge, McCain is changing his tune.

In 2006, McCain told MSNBC's Chris Matthews, "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to."

In past weeks, military leaders have come forward to do just that. Admiral Mike Mullen told Congress that repealing the ban and allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be "the right thing to do."

Gen. David Petraeus told NBC's David Gregory that troops probably don't care if fellow soldiers are gay or lesbian.

But the Arizona Senator seemed to dismiss the opinions of those military leaders Sunday.

"Admiral Mullen was as quoted speaking personally. Just this week, commandant of the Marine Corps said that he did not want "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repealed.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," said McCain.

McCain pointed to the training, retention and recruitment success of the US military and then went on to say that the discriminatory policy is effective. "I believe that it's working," he told David Gregory Sunday.

He did not give any specific example of how homosexuals would reduce retention or recruitment. Gregory pointed out that McCain has been criticized for trying to present himself as more conservative because of a primary challenge for his US senate seat.

This video is from NBC's Meet the Press, broadcast Feb. 28, 2010.

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