If you found it difficult to stay awake during last night's Republican presidential debate, at least one moment was sure to grab some headlines: One GOP candidate said it was perfectly acceptable to discriminate against gays and lesbians—but then quickly backpedaled.
Tommy Thompson—the former Wisconsin governor and health secretary in the first Bush Administration—made the remark to context to private sector discrimination.
MR. HARRIS: Governor Thompson, same theme. If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?
MR. THOMPSON: I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have to got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.
MR. VANDEHEI: Okay. So the answer’s yes.
MR. THOMPSON: Yes.
MR. VANDEHEI: Okay.
Almost immediately after the debate, the Thompson camp issued a retraction. The Associated Press reports the former governor's campaign says the candidate simply misunderstood the question and does not condone discrimination. It remains unclear how Thompson misunderstood such a direct question—and responded with an equally direct answer.
Raw Story also provides video of Thompson's "fire the gays" moment.
At least the GOP candidates are off to a fine start!