The Washington Post

Ken Mehlman apologizing for role in Bush campaign

In an interview with Salon, the chairman of President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign says he personally apologizes to people who “were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved.”

Ken Mehlman (Associated Press)

Ken Mehlman came out as gay in 2010.

At the time, he expressed regret that he didn’t push back against the Bush campaign’s support for a federal anti-gay marriage amendment and anti-gay marriage initiatives on state ballots.

“I can't change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally,” he said

Now he’s gone a step further:

“At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the effort,” Mehlman said. “As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”

While GOP presidential candidates uniformly oppose gay marriage, it’s becoming less of an issue among rank-and-file Republicans, and the general public is increasingly supportive of gay marriage.

Laura Bush and her daughter Barbara have both campaigned in support of same-sex marriage. Former Bush solicitor general Ted Olson worked to overturn California’s gay marriage ban. Former vice president Dick Cheney, an early GOP supporter of gay marriage, lobbied Maryland lawmakers on the issue this year.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.


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