Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
McCain to Gaga: I’ll save my talking for the Senate
Don’t expect Senator John McCain to respond to critical Twitter comments from pop star Lady Gaga as the U.S. Senate girds for a showdown over gays in the military.
“I only Twitter with Snooki, as you know,” McCain said Monday at the Reuters Washington Summit.
The Senate is expected to take up the hot-button issue on Tuesday, and McCain said he expects to focus his efforts on the floor of the Senate, not the popular microblogging service.
But he says the gay-friendly pop star and her followers are welcome to weigh in.
“I welcome her in the debate, I welcome all of her young fans into the debate,” McCain said. “It’s good to have lots of people involved.
With mere weeks until the Nov. 2 congressional elections, Democrats are hoping to rescind a ban on gays serving openly in the military — a policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” — by including it in a bill that outlines the Pentagon’s spending priorities.
McCain and other Senate Republicans say it’s a nakedly political ploy to fire up a key segment of the Democratic base, and are seeking to block the bill on the grounds that Congress should wait until the Pentagon finishes up its review of the issue in December.
That doesn’t sit well with Lady Gaga, who said via Twitter last week that McCain was trying to “hijack our debate” and urged her followers to lobby for the bill’s passage.
McCain has used Twitter to interact with young celebrities before. This past spring, he sent a message to Snooki, the tanned reality-TV star of “Jersey Shore” fame, after she complained about tanning bed taxes.
“I would never tax your tanning bed!,” he wrote.
Most political observers expect Republicans to roll up big gains in the elections, but McCain cautioned that sideshows like this one could have unexpected repercussions among those voters who have not yet decided how to cast their ballots.
“They’re watching Lady Gaga attacking me on ‘Don’t ask don’t tell.’ I think we are really in danger of counting chickens before they hatch,” he said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque