August 16th, 2011
11:14 AM ET

Bachmann and Perry playing politics with the military?

Two top candidates for the GOP nomination, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, raised some eyebrows among the military for comments this last weekends.  As Barbara Starr reported on Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, the candidates discussion of the US military struck an odd chord with some of the troops and military establishment

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you say, both candidates talking about the U.S. military over the weekend, but their statements struck a bit of an odd chord with some of the troops and the people that we have been talking to.

STARR (voice-over): Two top Republican candidates are already using the troops as a talking point, but some wonder what it is they really are saying.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They definitely are trying to appeal to their conservative populist base.

STARR: Michele Bachmann says she might bring back the ban on gays serving in the military.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you became president, would you reinstitute the don't ask, don't tell policy in the military, which said that gays could not serve openly in the military?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The don't ask, don't tell policy has worked very well.


CROWLEY: Would you institute it then? Because it's been set aside.

BACHMANN: It worked very well and I would be in consultation with our commanders, but I think, yes, I probably would.

STARR: Do troops care?

AVLON: Right now the number one issue for veterans when they return home isn't whether they serve with gays and lesbians, but whether they can get a job.

STARR: Then there's Rick Perry.

PERRY: One of the powerful reasons that I'm running for the presidency of the United States is to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of this country respects highly the president of the United States.

STARR: Did Perry seem out of touch with young veterans' concerns?

Todd Bowers has served three combat tours.

TODD BOWERS, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER, IAVA: These are not the major issues that vets are going to be watching. Right now, with a stifling economy and major employment issues for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as a whole, that's what they want to hear about. They don't want to hear the headline blurb.

STARR: A recent congressional report calculates unemployment for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans nationwide is 11.5 percent, in Perry's home state of Texas, 13.1 percent, and in Minnesota, Bachmann's home state, 22.9 percent. Not talking about that these days could be a problem.

AVLON: They are definitely playing politics. There's no question about that. Whenever you try to politicize the military, you are by definition playing politics and you are playing to the lowest common denominator.


STARR: Now, Perry says he thinks the troops want a president who has served in the U.S. military. And, of course, he did serve in the U.S. Air Force many years ago. Bachmann to be fair says she would consult with her commanders.

But, Wolf, many of the young troops, just like so many Americans, say, look, right now what concerns them is the economy, their health care benefits and a job once they get out of the military - Wolf.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Once again everyone beers away from.the subject, Are the politicians using the military?

    As always they are, the vast majority have NEVER served a day, they do however, love to play army.

    Just as in Viet Nam they have gotten the U.S. involved in 2, that's two wars we cannot win.

    A better question is, do they REALLY respect our armed forces? Personally I don't think so.

    Perry served in the Airforce? What did he do, work a type writer or strut around as an ofiicer attempting to appear important?

    Whether.there are gays in the military is ONLY important to the "religious" right. If a person does his/her job and is not blatant about it no big deal. On a fire fight that would be the LAST worry on my mind.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Good question. What did he do in the military? I spent 12 years in the Navy, most of them poking holes in the Ocean in Submarines. Isolation duty with separation from the family. When I was RIFed out in 92, thanks to Bush Senior's policies it took me almost 6 months to find a job. Now looking at what is happening to the latest generations to leave service, I consider myself extremely fortunate.
      Also, think about this. Because Texas has an allegedly friendly climate with no State Income Taxes, a lot of folks separating from the service who had been stationed in Texas would like to remain there. What has Perry done to provide real jobs based on the skills these folks have? Why does Texas have such a high veteran's unemployment rate if his state is so business friendly?
      Getting back to his service, I would like to know what he did, too!

      August 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  2. Tom

    It's too funny and predictable that Castro News Network, in its defense of the clueless, career community organizer (who palled around with a terrorist who bombed the Pentagon) turned to some whack job, uber, ultra, hard and far, far, far, far, far left, virulent, militant, fundamentalist, extremist, leftist freakshow freak and political activist like John Avalon who knows absolutely nothing about the United States military. Keep it up Castro News Network. You can only improve with your two viewers.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  3. Andrew

    lol@Kevin, spouting conservative mantras and arguing with people in the comments section of an online news article. There are forums elsewhere on the Internet for that. Here, you're just talking to a brick wall.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  4. CHRIS

    I'm in the navy and straight as they come I go to church and all that jazz and I don't care if gays serve openly. As long as they do there job no one cares. Most like stated above don't even read the daily news. In 2008 60% of my command didn't even know who was running president let alone vote. So for Republicans like bachman to assume were a bunch of gay hatting grunts to try and score "easy votes" like that have a lot to learn.

    As a pot shot thought in the bill of rights it says seperation of church and state right. So why are Republicans angling for the super Christian title. Wouldn't that alone

    August 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Hey Chris, don't forget, the USAF is always getting in trouble for having Evangelical Fundamentalists conduct authorized proselytizing among the troops. This is something we would not have tolerated when I was in the Navy. My theory is as long as you can count on the person standing next to you in a fire, flooding, or other casualty situation I could care less about their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation! I guess Sub Service will do that to you.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  5. Jeff

    I'm looking at my watch to see how long it takes Perry to "swagger" his way out of serious contention. As a lifelong Texan, I know what a joke this man is. However, his making a mockery of this state is nothing to joke about and the threat of him doing the same for the rest of the country is downright scary. If any of you remeber the old TV series "Dallas", he is the equivalent of J.R. Ewing without the intelligence. Other than the Tea Party, how many of you would like to have ol' J.R. as your President? Perhaps he should secede himself to that island he co-owns. He'd be much less of a danger to the rest of us if he did.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      So Jeff, four more years of record deficits, high unemployment, higher taxes, possible loss of social security, and indifference to our own borders and the military sounds better for you??? Really? President Obama crippled the economy which had disasterous effects on all states, including Texas, but not so bad here as elsewhere. We have a border issue that President O refuses to act appropriately on. I know, lets just tax the hell out of everyone to save us. I'm sure that will work, after all, President O said it would. Never worked before, but what the heck, lets try it out. We Want CHANGE!!! Rremember that, well we got it and we are paying for it now. Don't you wonder why only a little snippet of Gov Perry's comments were listed??? CNN has a habit of distorting viewpoints like that to satisfy their agenda. If you really are a lifetime Texan, you should be a little more aware of your governor's views on these subjects. BTW, Dallas was a fictional piece on TV. JR is not real and Elvis is dead.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am | Reply
      • Syphon

        Kevin, what you fail to realize is that (according to economists both liberal and conservative) the record deficits stems from 3 things: the wars in iraq and afghanistan, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts which were unfunded, and medicare part d (which was also unfunded). these are the leading drivers of our current deficit problem. high unemployment is a byproduct of the following: layoffs at the local and state government level, corporations reaping record profits, and still laying off individuals to keep profits extremely high. the idea that we are over taxed is a fallacy, we currently have the lowest tax rates in the last 60 years. you can not find a time since basically WWII that taxes have been this low on individuals and corporations. i challenge you to prove me wrong. if you actually did some research on SS, you would understand that SS actually owns $3T of the american debt. SS was raided to pay for the tax cuts and to try and balance budgets. SS was a solvent program until this took place. indifference at the borders? he is not indifferent, he is tolerant. you realize that if you made it easier to immigrate legally, more people would actually come and pay taxes and contribute to the economy. if youre so up in arms about border security, i suggest you boycott businesses who employ them. but then again the cost of hundred of products and services will rise as a result. food being the biggest culprit. and you cant tell me he's indifferent to the military. this being the same guy who has brought the majority of troops home from Iraq and is in process of bringing them home from Afghanistan, oh and that little known fact that he killed Bin Laden.

        oh and youre messiah Perry has a great record of job creation in Texas, too bad 80% of the jobs he has created pay minumum wage. yup, those are great jobs that all americans pray for......

        August 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
      • Leroy

        It's almost like the economy has been bad for even longer, right? I sure don't know of any other Republican Texans who might be responsible.

        August 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • AmesIA

      I have to laugh at the swagger of a man that was on college deferment during the Vietnam War and only managed a 1.95 GPA. The Texas sequel to GWB is just plain DUMBERER. If he is the great hope of the GOP we need to look elsewhere.

      August 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  6. Jilli

    Perry is pathetic – an even dumber caricature of GW Bush – if it were satire it'd be funny, this isn't anything to laugh about. It's only been 3 days, and I've heard enough from Perry to last a lifetime. Of course, I live in TX, so I get to experience his "leadership" firsthand.

    Lord help this country if either one of theses chuckleheads gets to the white house.

    August 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      Of course, I live in TX, so I get to experience his "leadership" firsthand.

      Wow!! That is amazing. First your words are straight out of the "Hate Republicans" playbook, and second, you must be a really important person in Texas to experience leadership at the state level "first hand". Most of us normal people experience state leadership through out representatives (remember democracy???) and/or state agencies which run on policies generated from your elected representatives and appointed administration officials.

      All that aside, I don't think the country can take another financial beating whether it be loss of credit rating or raising taxes as the current administration is planning. Government is too big, too expensive, and abusive. I think the "chucklehead" is already in office.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • Chris1

      i agree Perry is a joke.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:34 am | Reply
  7. frespech

    free them up from over taxation, free them up from over regulation, free them up from over litigation. And government, get out of the way. Let the private sector do what the private sector do what it knows how to do."
    This is the Parry platform
    Don't legislate- Don't regulate-Don't litigate- and most importantly- Don't tax business
    Actually that pretty much is the entire Republican mantra. Not for me thanks.

    August 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      This is the Parry platform
      Don't legislate- Don't regulate-Don't litigate- and most importantly- Don't tax business
      Actually that pretty much is the entire Republican mantra. Not for me thanks.

      How did you get all that out of this pathetic article? Legislating stupid ideas is bad; ideas that actually benefit people is good. Allowing agencies to regulate businesses out of business is stupid; allowing businesses to make money is good. Allowing judges to legislate from the bench is unconstitutional; should read the Constitution about separation of powers. Businesses are already taxed – duh – taxing them more or at a different rate is unfair and will not help out the economy that the current President has wrecked.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
      • CHRIS

        Last time we let big business do what ever it wanted we went through the great depression. Rules are like the frame work for a skyscraper you have to have it other wise it will collapse when the wind blows but to your point also it can't be to ridged or it will not say in the wind during the storm. Now as for taxing them well you can't honestly say that if you get a 1mil pay check. That you can't afford to give a little extra. Do you really need a new car or a private island when you just laid off a third of your workers. Sounds a little selfish to me. Not very Christian I would say. That's a joke by way so don't get to angry now.

        August 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  8. Jarhead

    Sounds like a total rebuke of Bush junior. That's pretty courageous for a Republican.

    August 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • Cavalier581

      Sounds more like a rebuke of Obama to me, but maybe that's what he's going for: something so vague you can hear whatever you want to hear.

      August 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Reply

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