On CBS’s “Face the Nation” a few days ago, host Bob Schieffer noted that Stephen Hill, an Army soldier currently serving in Iraq, was booed by some in the audience at a recent Republican debate. Schieffer asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the leading opponent of DADT repeal last year, whether he believes the GOP presidential candidates should have spoken up. “Yeah. I do,” McCain said. “But … I would bet that every Republican on that stage did not agree with that kind of behavior.”

Well, not “every.”

Rick Santorum, soon after the debate, condemned the booing. Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson both said the audience’s reaction was unacceptable, and even Herman Cain expressed regret for not having spoken up at the time.

And then there’s Mitt Romney.

“I would tell you that in these debates there has been a lot of booing and a lot of applause. Cheering and booing,” Mr. Romney said Monday during a 70-minute interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, which was broadcast on CSPAN. “Now I have not made it my practice to scold the audience and say, ‘I disagree with this person. I agree with that person.’ Because it goes a lot of different directions.” […]

“You’d have to look at it,” he said. “I don’t know when they booed, and I don’t know why people booed. I will tell you that the boos and the applause has not always coincided with my own views.”

I’m curious, do even Mitt Romney’s most ardent backers actually respect this guy? Could anyone seriously make the case that he’s a man of personal courage?

This isn’t complicated. Stephen Hill is putting his life on the line for his country — for all of us — serving overseas. Because Hill is a gay man asking about DADT, some Republicans felt justified booing him. A third of the Republican field now believes that was wrong, as does John McCain, who led the charge to protect DADT from repeal.

Can Romney muster just enough strength to acknowledge the booing was wrong? Apparently not.

President Obama said the other day, “You want to be commander in chief, you can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.”

It appears Mitt Romney doesn’t do much of anything if it’s not politically convenient.

“To sit in silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.