(CNN) - James Dobson said Wednesday that presumptive Republican nominee John McCain had not been successful in uniting conservatives since capturing the nomination – and that recent moves by the senator instead “appear to be fracturing an increasingly divided constituency."
"I have seen no evidence that Sen. McCain is successfully unifying the Republican Party or drawing conservatives into his fold. To the contrary, he seems intent on driving them away,” said the Focus on the Family founder, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
He cited recent McCain remarks on global warming and torture, a speech in front of the influential conservative Council on National Policy that “thoroughly disappointed and irritated” many in attendance, and recent comments from a McCain adviser that the Arizona senator can win based his on his support from moderates and independents.
“That seems to be the strategy. These are not the policies and pronouncements of a man who is seeking to 'unify the party.' Indeed, they appear to be fracturing an increasingly divided constituency," wrote the evangelical leader.
The statements were some of Dobson’s most critical to date, though he stopped short of saying his followers should not vote for McCain.
The conservative Christian icon has long been cool to McCain. During the primary season, he spoke warmly of Republican rival Mitt Romney, and backed Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid.
UPDATE: McCain himself – who said he had not had a conversation with Dobson that could recall, but that he would be happy to speak with him – said Wednesday he respected him, but disputed his campaign assessment, adding that poll data showed he had greater support from his party than either of the Democratic candidates had from their own. (Watch McCain's comments)
“We continue to work with our conservative base, and I'm very proud - as I say –of the empirical data that shows we have very strong support amongst all elements of our party. And that's what we need to do to win,” he told CNN's Dana Bash on board the Straight Talk Express.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
McCain is just like Hillary Clinton they both wants to win at any cost! This man is not even an REPUBLICAN. He does not belong in either party, but will squeeze in where he can fit in. Hillary is much of the same, she still has Republican tendencies. In truth they just want to be president and have no REAL love for either party.
To Dale: Considering what the far right has done to the Republican Party, it will be far better off without the wing nuts, as will the country. Perhaps it will return to the principals of Goldwater, Rockefeller, Ford, Dirksen, Bush the first, even.
Dobson stick to your religion and get your nose out of poltics.
If this guy continues to be the self professed conscience of the Republican party it's time for the guy to lose his tax exemption.......and yes this goes for the religious arm of the Democratic party too.
McCain will lose in the general to Obama just wait and see.
I think Dobson and his ilk would be more comfortable with white hoods over their heads. McCain is not right wing enough for them, huh? How can someone think John "make Bush's tax cuts for the rich permanent" McCain is not a conservative?! And how can so-called Democrats like Jim from NC actually prefer four more years of the same instead of an intelligent man like Obama? Astounding.
Dodbson is full of it. Republicans will unite with McCain despite the Right Wing's rejection and maybe because of it. Had we wanted Huckabee we would have voted for him. Romney was the best candidate, but your religoius bigotry could not deal with the fact that he was a Mormon. I hope that McCain picks Romney as his running mate just too shove it in your face. McCain-Romney 08. Now that is a Dream Ticket.
Jim in N.C. gotta go, gotta gooooooo!!! Good riddence... bye bye!
Sheila, Jim is just choosing the best candidate. McCain is the most capable of unifying this country since he's the most moderate. Obama and Hillary with their liberal attitudes will never draw republicans into their fold, whereas McCain is capable of and is already drawing democrats into his fold.
The fact is McCain is what's best for this country right now.
I'm not sure what Dr. Dobson's political agenda is, but his opposition to Sen. McCain's stances on torture and global warming shows that his agenda has nothing to do with Christian values. Hopefully the religious right will not continue blindly following Dr. Dobson.
McCain will only carry because is is the better of ALL evils.
Quit picking on Dobson, he hasn't yet seen the WWJD bumper sticker, so he doesn't realize there's anything wrong with torture and destroying the planet.
It's really too bad that we don't have another Republican contender!
This christian independent voter does not agree with Dobson. I'm voting for McCain in november.
Religious leaders and the like trying to control politics again.
I am Catholic and I will vote for whom I want to be President.
Religions think voters do not have a mind of their own.