ThinkProgress was on hand for the event, and reported on Schmidt's remarks. The strategist told the group:
"[I want to pay] my respect and the campaign's respect to your organization. On a personal level, my sister and her partner are an important part of my life and our children's life. I admire your group and your organization, and I encourage you to keep fighting for what you believe in because the day is going to come. You are an important part of our party. [...]"We as the Republicans are the party of freedom and as the party we strive to reach that goal and we'll keep fighting as a party to reach it in full. And I think over time it will be reached. And you are an important part of this party."
First, I'm going to assume that the James Dobson crowd, which has been warming up to the McCain campaign lately, will not be at all pleased to hear any of this. McCain's campaign manager is not, according to GOP base, supposed to "encourage" gay group to "keep fighting." The religious right also doesn't want to hear Schmidt promise that equality for gays "will be reached."
Second, Schmidt was probably just trying to tell the group what its members wanted to hear, but the reality is, McCain is even further to the right on gay issues than Bush was when he was running for president. After all, McCain has, over the course of this campaign, said he doesn't believe gay couples should be allowed to adopt children; he opposes civil unions, even at the state level; he opposes otherwise-qualified gay Americans serving in the military, calling gay troops an "intolerable risk"; and he's even told supporters that he could support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. McCain went so far as to suggest he couldn't consider Michael Bloomberg for his ticket because the New York mayor is "pro-gay rights."
And now his chief strategist wants gay Republicans to throw their support to McCain? Why, because McCain hasn't done enough to offend them?