Jim DeMint: Mary Cheney Not Fit to Teach School

From Holden:

Republican SC Senate candidate Jim DeMint hates gays and unmarried pregnant women who live with their boyfrineds. I understnad he has a rather limited Christmas list.

MR. RUSSERT: In a previous debate, Mr. DeMint, you were asked a question, and this was your answer about teaching in South Carolina.

(Videotape, S. Carolina Educational TV Debate, October 3, 2004):

REP. DeMINT: If a person is a practicing homosexual, they should not be teaching in our schools.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: Why not?

REP. DeMINT: Well, I apologize for that remark, because I really regret distracting from the main issues of this debate.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, do you apologize because it’s a distraction or do you apologize for what you said?

REP. DeMINT: No, I apologize for distracting from the real issues of this debate. This is…

MR. RUSSERT: So do you–wait, but let’s clarify. Do you believe that gays should be able to teach in the public schools of South Carolina?

REP. DeMINT: I believe that’s a local school board issue and the voters of South Carolina want me to talk about how they’re going to be safer, how they’re going to have better jobs, how I’m going to save Social Security.

MR. RUSSERT: But you said they shouldn’t be. And the Republican Party in South Carolina’s platform…

REP. DeMINT: Right.

MR. RUSSERT: …said they should not. Do you believe that gays should be able to teach in the public schools?

REP. DeMINT: I believe that’s a local school board issue.

[snip]

MR. RUSSERT: You also, when asked about your comments about gay teachers, said this: “I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman, who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend, should be hired to teach my third-grade children.” Do you also still believe that, that a single mom should not be a teacher in South Carolina schools?

REP. DeMINT: I believe that’s a local school board issue. And, Tim, I was answering as a dad who’s put lots of children in the hands of teachers and I answered with my heart. And I should just say, again, I apologize that distracted from the real debate.

MR. RUSSERT: But you apologize for distracting but are you apologizing to gay teachers or to single mom teachers?

REP. DeMINT: No. I’m apologizing for talking about a local school board issue when the voters want us to talk about how we’re going to make them safer, win the war on terror, how we’re going to create jobs, how we’re going to fix our health-care system. And these are things I’ve worked on in the Congress and that’s what I plan to do in the Senate.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think that non-citizens should be teaching in South Carolina schools?

REP. DeMINT: I think that’s up to our state superintendent. I know that we brought in thousands of teachers from other countries. That’s a decision my opponent has made, and I think that should be a state decision who’s teaching in the schools.

MR. RUSSERT: But you’re making judgments about gay people or about single moms and, in effect, disqualifying them. Are you certain that you never had a gay teacher?

REP. DeMINT: Listen, I have my personal beliefs, Tim, but I honestly believe that the teachers should be hired by local school districts. They should be making the decisions on who should be in the classroom.

MR. RUSSERT: But don’t the voters have a right to know about whether or not you still stand by comments you made in the campaign? Do you stand by your comments?

REP. DeMINT: I apologized for answering a local school board question.

MR. RUSSERT: No, you’re apologizing for the distraction, but it’s a simple question. Do you believe that gays should be able to teach in South Carolina schools?

REP. DeMINT: Well, Tim…

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that single moms should be able to teach?

REP. DeMINT: It’s a very simple answer. I think the local school board should make that issue, not Senate can–I mean, make that decision.

MR. RUSSERT: But you didn’t think that a month ago when you answered the question.

REP. DeMINT: And I apologize for that, Tim.

MR. RUSSERT: For answering the question?

REP. DeMINT: Yeah, for distracting from the real thing.

MR. RUSSERT: But not for the substance of your comments.

REP. DeMINT: Tim, who hires teachers should be decided by local school boards.