At Thursday night's GOP presidential debate, the Politico's John Harris asked Tommy Thompson what seemed like a pretty straightforward question: "Gov. Thompson ... If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?"
Thompson answered in what seemed to be a pretty straightforward way: "I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be."
The follow-up from Jim VandeHei: "OK, so the answer's yes?" Thompson: "Yes."
While Thompson's "good, non-weaselly answer" is winning praise from some corners of the right, most folks are just scratching their heads: As Ed Morrissey writes in the National Review, Thompson's answer merely confirms his status as one of the GOP's "Crazy Uncle Bobs" who ought to "return to the attic forthwith. "
Thompson isn't climbing the stairs just yet. But in a telephone interview with CNN this morning, he said he "misinterpreted" the question about firing gay employees and that his answer should have been "no." That not-so-complicated question again: "If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?"