CNN acknowledged today that a retired military officer has ties to Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign and should not have been allowed to ask a question at Wednesday night's Republican debate about homosexuals serving in the military.
Retired Brigadier General Keith H. Kerr of Santa Rosa, Calif., asked a question via a YouTube video criticizing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and was invited by CNN to the theater in St. Petersburg, Fla., to pose a follow-up question.
He is on Clinton campaign committees for veterans and for gays and lesbians. The Clinton campaign said Kerr does not work for the campaign and was not acting on its behalf.
"We regret this and apologize to the Republican candidates," David Bohrman, CNN senior vice president and executive producer of debate, said in a statement posted on CNN's political website. "We never would have used the general's question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidate."
CNN said before the debate, it verified his military background and that he had not given any money to presidential candidates.
Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney disagreed with Kerr about letting gays and lesbians serve openly in the military.
Romney was reminded that in 1994 he had said he looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve "openly and honestly in our nation's military."
Asked whether he stood by that statement, Romney replied, "This isn't that time. This is not that time. We're in the middle of a war."
Kerr said the candidates did not adequately respond to his query.
"American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians," Kerr said. "For 42 years, I wore the army uniform on active duty, in the reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired. Today, 'don't ask, don't tell' is destructive to our military policy."