Conway, Paul offer divergent views on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

jbrammer@herald-leader.comSeptember 24, 2010 

LOUISVILLE — Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway says gays should be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, while his Republican rival, Rand Paul, says the military should decide the issue.

Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates were asked their opinions on the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the wake of this week's unsuccessful effort by Democrats in the U.S. Senate to repeal it. Paul and Conway are vying on the Nov. 2 ballot for the seat now held by Republican Jim Bunning, who is retiring.

When Conway was asked at a Louisville news conference this week whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, he said "yes," without elaborating.

Paul campaign spokesman Gary Howard said Thursday in an e-mail without elaboration, "Dr. Paul believes this is a matter that should be decided by the leadership of the military, not through political posturing."

Republicans in the U.S. Senate this week stopped a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" when Democrats attached an amendment seeking the repeal to a defense bill. Republicans said a Pentagon study on the impact of ending the policy should be completed before there is any move toward repeal.

Democrats also failed to advance an immigration measure that was attached to the defense spending authorization bill. The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act would allow citizenship for illegal immigrants who are serving in the U.S. military or attending American colleges.

The Paul campaign this week issued a news release contending that "Washington liberals are trying to push through the so-called DREAM Act, which creates an official path to Democrat voter registration for 2 million college-age illegal immigrants."

Paul called the DREAM Act "the Washington elitists' roundabout way of giving amnesty to illegal immigrant students and undermining the rule of law."

Paul was in Louisville on Thursday to pick up an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business.

At a news conference in which he limited questions to business issues and only from Kentucky media, Paul repeated his support to make permanent the tax cuts enacted in President George W. Bush's administration. Conway has called for extending the tax cuts.

Asked how the government would pay for making the Bush tax cuts permanent, Paul said, "Republicans should propose cuts. Republicans have typically been good at cutting taxes but not good in cutting federal spending."

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