In it, but not of it. TPM DC

McCain Spox: Senator 'Misspoke' When He Said Defense Secretary Never Served In Military


McCain's office did not immediately reply to questions about whether the Senator has offered Gates a personal apology for misstating his military record.

Gates' view that the military's ability to fight and win wars would be largely unaffected by a repeal of DADT is backed by a new Pentagon study of hundreds of thousands of active duty servicembers released yesterday. The study said "70 percent of troops overall said repealing the law would have positive, mixed or no effects," according to TPM's reporting yesterday.

But McCain and other Republicans wary of repealing the ban have questioned the survey questions, as well as the political environment in which the survey is being conducted. President Obama has said repeatedly that he's committed to repealing DADT, and as McCain told NBC's Ken Strickland yesterday, the Arizona Senator is worried the political push is keeping Gates and other military leaders from heeding the word of what McCain says are military leaders "directly in charge" who don't want the policy changed.

"I'm paying attention to the commandant of the Marine Corps," McCain told NBC. "I'm paying attention to the other three service chiefs who have serious concerns. They are the four guys who are directly in charge. In all due respect, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not directly in charge of the troops. The Secretary of Defense is a political appointee who's never been in the military. And the president, obviously, has had no background or experience in the military whatsoever. It was a campaign pledge to the gay and lesbian community."