(CNN) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told reporters Friday he learned influential Christian conservative James Dobson had endorsed his presidential campaign when he received an e-mail citing news reports of the nod. The former Baptist minister said he had recently asked Dobson for his backing – but that the Focus on the Family founder had kept his plans to himself.
Dobson is a vocal and long-standing critic of GOP frontrunner Sen. John McCain. Last month, he lauded Huckabee's win in the Iowa caucuses as evidence of the continued strength of the evangelical movement.
Huckabee said he appreciated the endorsement saying Dobson's "still got a lot of credibility with people across the country, and is looked to as the remaining mega-giant within evangelical circles, and so I think it's a very significant endorsement."
– CNN's Wes Little