John McCain set off a bit of controversy a few weeks ago when he told the New York Times that he didn’t “believe in gay adoption,” which understandably set off protests among gay rights activists. The campaign quickly tied to backtrack, which then set off protests among the Religious Right.
McCain probably hoped that the controversy had passed, but this weekend George Stephanopoulos asked McCain about the apparent flip-flop and tried to get him to clarify his position, which only made McCain more uncomfortable as he tried to explain that this is “not the reason why I’m running for president of the United States” while simultaneously assuring the Right that the reason he is running for president is because he wants “to help with family values” – so much so that he uses the phrases “family values” and “traditional family” repeatedly:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your position on gay adoption? You told the “New York Times” you were against it, even in cases where the children couldn’t find another home. But then your staff backtracked a bit.
What is your position?
MCCAIN: My position is, it’s not the reason why I’m running for president of the United States. And I think that two parent families are best for America.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what do you mean by that, it’s not the reason you’re running for president of the United States?
MCCAIN: Because I think — well, I think that it’s — it is important for us to emphasize family values. But I think it’s very important that we understand that we have other challenges, too.
I’m running for president of the United States, because I want to help with family values. And I think that family values are important, when we have two parent — families that are of parents that are the traditional family.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are several hundred thousand children in the country who don’t have a home. And if a gay couple wants to adopt them, what’s wrong with that?
MCCAIN: I am for the values that two parent families, the traditional family represents.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you’re against gay adoption.
MCCAIN: I am for the values and principles that two parent families represent. And I also do point out that many of these decisions are made by the states, as we all know.
And I will do everything I can to encourage adoption, to encourage all of the things that keeps families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job creation.
And I’m running for president, because I want to help families in America. And one of my positions is that I believe that family values and family traditions are preserved.
Via Andrew Sullivan