November 30, 2007
As news of the planted questioner from Hilary Clinton’s campaign to the CNN YouTube GOP debate on Wednesday night spreads, Republican candidate Duncan Hunter, who bore the brunt of the planted question, sent Mrs. Clinton a personal message today.
If you missed the debates, Hunter was asked a question by an openly gay retired Brigadier General, Keith Kerr,
“My name's Keith Kerr, from Santa Rosa, California. I'm a retired brigadier general with 43 years of service. And I'm a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Commanding General Staff Course and the Army War College. And I'm an openly gay man.
I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.”
Mr. Hunter replied,
“General, thanks for your service, but I believe in what Colin Powell said when he said that having openly homosexual people serving in the ranks would be bad for unit cohesion.”
“The reason for that, even though people point to the Israelis and point to the Brits and point to other people as having homosexuals serve, is that most Americans, most kids who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives.”
“They have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values. To force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them. I agree with Colin Powell that it would be bad for unit cohesion.”
Dissatisfied with the answer he received from Congressman Hunter, and others, General Kerr stood up and basically started making a speech. He said,
“American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians. For 42 years, I wore the army uniform on active duty, in the Reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired.”
“Today, "don't ask/don't tell" is destructive to our military policy. Every day, the Department of Defense discharges two people, not for misconduct, not for the unit cohesion that Congressman Hunter is talking about, but simply because they happen to be gay. And we're talking about doctors, nurses, pilots, and the surgeon who sews somebody up when they're taken from the battlefield.”
General Kerr, receiving heavy boos from the audience, ceased his attempted filibuster and sat down, allowing the debate to continue.
News of Kerr’s affiliation with the Clinton campaign started filtering out and spreading as soon as the debate ended. A spokesman for the Clinton campaign, Phil Singer denied that the campaign had prior knowledge that Kerr was going to appear at the debate. Kerr said he did not inform the campaign of his plans.
Kerr was one of only two people in the audience handed a microphone to directly question the candidates, calling into question any veracity of such an event actually being a coincidence.
Congressman Hunter’s campaign emailed copies of his correspondence to Senator Clinton today. It said,
November 29, 2007
Dear Senator Clinton,
Regarding the "plant", retired Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr, that you sent to ask me the question at the CNN-YouTube debate last night in Florida …
Whether Clinton will reply, or apologize for this egregious act, remains to be seen.
Showing the depth of his love for America and that he possesses the qualities needed for a President, when asked by the moderator, Anderson Cooper, “how do you repair the image of America in the Muslim world?,” Hunter replied,
“Cooper, very simply, to the critics of America I would say this. When you were faced with disease and starvation, the Americans brought food and medicine. When you had earthquakes and tsunamis and floods, the Americans came and helped you. And when you were threatened from outside, the Americans left the safety of their own homes to come and defend you.”
“I will never apologize for the United States of America.”
Neither will I, Mr. Hunter.