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Heckling a gay soldier: Obama's 'fighting' response to the GOP's silence
At a gay-rights gala, President Obama tears into his Republican challengers for failing to defend a gay soldier when a GOP debate audience booed him
 
President Obama targeted his Republican rivals in a speech Saturday, accusing them of failing to stand up for a gay soldier who was booed by a GOP debate audience.
President Obama targeted his Republican rivals in a speech Saturday, accusing them of failing to stand up for a gay soldier who was booed by a GOP debate audience.
Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

The video: On Saturday, President Obama gave the keynote address at the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner, and used the occasion to blast his Republican presidential rivals for staying silent when the audience at a recent GOP debate booed gay soldier Stephen Hill for asking about the end of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. "We don't believe in the kind of smallness that says it's OK for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed," Obama said. "You wanna be commander in chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform in the United States, even when it's not politically convenient." (Watch video below)

The reaction: These "fighting words from the president" are "quite remarkable," says John Aravosis at AmericaBlog. It's not everyday that gay rights are used "as a wedge issue (and effectively) against the GOP." Hold on, says B. Daniel Blatt in Gay Patriot. There were only a handful of people booing at the debate, and Obama is unfairly "attempting to hold Republican presidential candidates responsible for the boorish behavior of at most three (but likely just one) rude and disrespectful louts." That's "mean-spirited" demagoguery, pure and simple. Hear the president's comments for yourself:

 

 

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