Rudy on Gays in the Military: Not Now

Despite all the talk among presidential candidates and United States generals, Rudy Giuliani doesn’t think it’s an appropriate time to be debating “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Here’s the emailed response to a question I put to his campaign yesterday:

“We’re at war and now isn’t the time to question our military’s admissions policy.”

The statement is part of a pattern for Giuliani, who has a strong record on gay rights issues, but is simultaneously trying to avoid a) overt flip-flops on his liberal social positions and b) statements that might alienate his party’s conservative base.

Giuliani’s rivals both support current military policy.

On Thursday, Sen. John McCain’s said at a New York fund-raiser that, after conferring with military leaders, he felt the policy was working.

“I think it’s logical to leave this issue alone,” he said.

Mitt Romney’s spokesman, Kevin Madden, said, “Gov. Romney supports ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ He agrees with the president’s decision to maintain the policy.”

It’s worth noting that Giuliani has been finessing this issue for years.

Back in December of 1999, when Hillary Clinton first voiced criticisms of the “don’t ask” compromise forged by her husband, Giuliani — who was gearing up to run against her at the time — avoided giving a clear answer on the issue.

“I’m going to take a look at it,” he said.

–Jason Horowitz