The interim executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) defended his group’s attacks on the nomination of former Nebraska GOP Senator Chuck Hagel for defense secretary because of Hagel’s anti-gay record, even as the group had endorsed the presidential bid of Mitt Romney, who supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Gregory T. Angelo also defended the full-page ads LCR placed in newspapers condemning Hagel even as Angelo himself had personally endorsed Newt Gingrich, considered to be among the most anti-gay GOP presidential candidates of the 2012 election cycle.
“That’s correct,” Angelo said when asked if he’d backed Gingrich who, unlike Romney, signed a controversial pledge written by the Iowa Family Leader, stating he would “oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman” and vowed marital fidelity. “I was an alternate delegate for Newt Gingrich. He is someone I admire as a bold conservative leader. I’ve met him. I’ve introduced myself to him as a gay American who is supportive.” (Scroll down to listen to the full interview)
Gingrich, in a dramatic turn after the 2012 election, recently stated that the loss of the election caused him to believe Republicans should move on from the the issue of gay marriage, which he now believes is "inevitable."
Angelo, speaking in an interview on my SiriusXM radio program, explained why he supported Gingrich but not Hagel, who has a record similar to Gingrich’s record during the presidential race on most LGBT issues but, unlike Gingrich, was opposed in 2006 to banning marriage for gays in the U.S. Constitution.
“If Chuck has evolved on these issues, if he does embrace open service, where was he in 2010, lobbying his former colleagues on “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal?” he asked. “Newt Gingrich changed when he had nothing politically advantageous to gain. Chuck Hagel comes out when his name was floated for a nomination. So you have to question the timing of that. The fact is Newt Gingrich came out when he had nothing to gain politically. In fact, he could lose quite a bit.”
Regarding the group’s endorsement of Romney, who supported a federal marriage amendment, while Hagel, who earned a zero score from the Human Rights Campaign from 2001 to 2006 but nonetheless was opposed to such an amendment, Angelo appeared to backtrack a bit on the Romney endorsement. Though the group had said at the time that it was a “qualified” endorsement, it hadn’t previously emphasized that fact nor discussed those in the group who were opposed to a Romney endorsement.
“We issued a qualified endorsement [of Romney],” he said. “We were very clear about that. There was a really strong groundswell from our grass roots members stating that we should support a Romney nomination for the presidency and there were also a significant number of supporters from our grass roots members who said we should not. So what our board did was split the difference, and I think did so in a masterful way.”
Regarding the source of the money for the newspaper ads against Hagel, which would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, and whether or not the funding came from neoconservative groups or individuals opposed to Hagel for his positions on Israel and Iran, Angelo said, “There are a number of people who could support our ads for a number of different reasons, but the fact is, we don’t discuss funding.”
“The ads that you’re seeing right now against Chuck Hagel are part of a broader communications strategy to get out of this image and this predicament that we are an organization that is small and under-funded, “ Angelo continued. “Moving forward, while I won’t comment on specific campaigns, these Chuck Hagel ads are just the tip of the iceberg to make sure we keep the Republican Party accountable, to make sure we’re on the attack with Democrats and also to raise the profile of the Log Cabin Republicans.”
This week LCR placed full-page ads in "The Hill" newspaper, urging Republicans to support gay marriage and oppose the Defense of Marriage Act.
Listen to the full interview here: