• Presidential Debate Audience Booing Gay Soldier Was "Unfortunate," Says Rick Perry's Shill

    Last night's GOP debate was chock-full of ugliness, from Michele Bachmann's Communist tunic to Rick Perry's suggestion that Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain "mate."

    Oh, and then there was the bit where the audience booed an active duty soldier in Iraq, because he's guilty of serving his country while being gay. (The soldier, Stephen Hill, wanted to know if any of the candidates planned to "circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers." The nerve of this guy!)

    Let the post-debate message massaging begin…

    Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) was among those spinning reporters for Rick Perry after the debate. TPM asked him what he thought of a hometown crowd booing a soldier serving overseas.

    "That was very unfortunate," he said. "I wish that one of the candidates, any of them, would have highlighted how disrespectful it was for anyone in the audience to boo someone who who’s risking their life for our country."

    It was pointed out to Gaetz that his candidate, Perry, stood silent along with the others on stage after the boos.

    "I think that a lot of the candidates were caught up in the moment," he told TPM. "That was a very unfortunate moment in the debate."

    It was an unfortunate moment. That's exactly what it was. You know what else was an unfortunate moment? When a member of Perry's Florida leadership team said that acceptance of gays causes natural disasters. Or when Rick Perry changed his mind about marriage being a states' rights issue and signed pledge backing an anti-gay constitutional amendment. Or when Rick Perry hosted a "non-political" day of prayer with his friendly local anti-gay organization.

    So many unfortunate moments. I guess Rick Perry just gets caught up in them all.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Debates, Florida, LGBT, Military, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Perry


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