May 3rd, 2010
12:19 PM ET
4 years ago

About face by Dobson in Kentucky endorsement

(CNN) – The founder of Focus on the Family, the influential socially conservative organization, is switching his endorsement in the divisive Republican Senate primary battle in Kentucky.

James Dobson Monday endorsed Rand Paul after originally backing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson last week.

"Have you ever made an embarrassing mistake? I did just that last week. I was given misleading information about the candidacy of Dr. Rand Paul, who is running in the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate. Senior members of the GOP told me Dr. Paul is pro-choice and that he opposes many conservative perspectives, so I endorsed his opponent," Dobson said in a statement released Monday by the Paul campaign.

"But now I've received further information from OB/GYN's in Kentucky whom I trust, and from interviewing the candidate himself. I now know that he is avidly pro life. He believes that life begins at conception," added Paul.

Dobson is no longer the head of Focus on the Family and is making the endorsements as a private citizen.

Grayson and Paul, a physician and the son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, are running to succeed Sen. Jim Bunning, the Republican lawmaker who announced last summer that he would not run for a third term. National GOP leaders rallied around Grayson at the time.

But Paul, a favorite with conservatives and with many in the Tea Party movement, is running a strong campaign and picked up a major endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Most recent polls indicate that Paul leads Grayson in the GOP primary matchup. Three other lesser-known Republican candidates are also in the race.

Last month, Bunning endorsed Paul and former New York City mayor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani endorsed Grayson. The Grayson campaign announced Monday that Rep. Hal Rogers, who has represented southeast Kentucky for 30 years, backed Grayson. The district could be instrumental in the outcome of the May 18 primary.

In originally backing Grayson, Dobson said "Trey Grayson is the only candidate with the conviction to lead on the issues that matter to Kentucky families. His unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life and the family resonates with me. I know that he will be a leader on these issues, not just another Senator who checks the box."

Dobson, in switching his endorsement, added that Paul "opposes earmarking and supports Israel. He identifies with the Tea Party movement and believes in home schooling. Sounds like my kind of man."

In February, Dobson backed Rick Perry in the showdown between the Texas governor and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for their party's gubernatorial nomination. Perry easily won the primary election. The influential evangelical also endorsed former Sen. Dan Coats in the race for GOP Senate nomination in Indiana.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Don Mongiardo are the top two candidates battling for the Democratic Senate nomination in the May 18 primary.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • James Dobson • Kentucky • Rand Paul • Trey Grayson
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Miranda

    I'm a Christian. Dr. Dobson is a CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST. That's his area of expertise. He should have no more influence in endorsing politicians than you or I.

    May 3, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Steve, New York City

    Wow – typical right-wing extremists – if you don't think, look, act, talk and dress exactly like them, then there must be something wrong with you. Amazing how BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES are moving to extremes and pushing out their moderates (though the GOP has been worse) . . .might be good, if it results in a strong 3rd party (and I don't mean the Tea Party).

    May 3, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Pragmatic

    Same ol' GOP mealy-mouth excuses .... "mistakes were made" and "I was not given ..." Dobson is retired but "too important" to do his own research! What if his worthless endorsement is wrong again ... ???

    May 3, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Captain Crunch

    Does anyone really care what this right-wing, religious zealot thinks? Is his own view of his importance just somewhat overblown? Does he really think people care who he backs or why?

    But, if it will cause a few of the religious faithful to back Rand Paul and defeat Mitch McConnell's hand-pick choice, then I'm all for it!!!

    May 3, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Pat F

    Dobson has stumbled upon Libertarianism.

    Libertarians are frequently both pro-life (meaning that they believe that human life begins at conception and therefore that abortion is murder) and pro-choice (meaning that the government should have no role and impose no restrictions on freedom of choice in private matters). These are perfectly consistent positions for libertarians.

    Dobson is about to get whip-sawed – watch this space.

    @Mike: Don't try and use grown-up references when you don't understand them. Plato's Cave has absolutely no relevance here. Go back and read the original this time – not the Cliffnotes.

    @Dennis: What an ugly comment you posted.

    May 3, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Brad Hurt

    vote Demorcate in Kentucty and to hell with the republicans.

    May 3, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Roger

    I sure feel relieved that this right wing wacko has made up his mind, he is right in line with the Tea Baggers, who are bunch of rich old white right wing conservative people with their own agenda that does not include the average US citizen, they like BIG Government when it is in their favor like Social Security, Medicare, VA Benefits etc. they want to forget about the rest of us. They spew HATE yet consider themselves christians, again self serving....

    May 3, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Neaderthal Republicans

    This is what happens we you are AGAINST SOMETHING rather than FOR something.

    May 3, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Lou from CT

    Once again, the party of NO shows it's true face.

    As others have stated – say NO to the party of NO.

    May 3, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Djinn

    So the American Taliban has a litmus for political candidates: "Life begins at conception." That Really proves someone is prepared to lead through governing. Today, my problem is how do we, the majority of Americans who believe in the Constitution and all its amendments, preserve our freedoms from the religious zealots who believe that there is only one way and it is always theirs?? Labeling these zealots "Taliban" is no slur. It is a simply comparison to what is happening in much of the world where zealots of another "only way" religion are forcing their way on an innocent majority. Must we wait until these crackpots invent a word for jihad?? Vote them out; shout them down; send the message however you can. American democracy depends on separation of church and state. BE IT.

    May 3, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Geoz

    Listening to Dobson's version of family values is the mistake.

    May 3, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Darryl Schmitz

    "Senior members of the GOP told me Dr. Paul is pro-choice and that he opposes many conservative perspectives, so I endorsed his opponent."
    This statement is emblematic of how all of us, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or independent/moderate have allowed ourselves to be led like sheep.
    Please... First of all ask yourself what your own true convictions are. If they are right-wing, left-wing or constitutionalist/libertarian, find the individual candidate – regardless of party label – who can demonstrate a sincere conviction for those principles AND VOTE FOR THAT PERSON.

    May 3, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. plainfact

    Republica party is all about ideaologies. Instead of endorsing any candidate that you don't even know what he stands for, why not the church bring out a well trained candidate wise/balanced in the things of God and in the thing of the state. We are in difficult times and it need more than receiving information from others to endorse a candidate. And Mr Dobsen don't be so forward in representing the church there are many well mannered christian leaders that can do that. And I say this with all respect. Don't make the christian faith a laughing matter. It almost sounds like there are no christians that are Democratic party. You can play politics but don't assume you do that for all of us.

    May 3, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Robo52

    Anybody who calls himself a religious leader and endorses a politician is playing his followers as fools. If the news or a so called religious group puts a spin on something political, left or right, and you buy it, your being played. And I have some swamp land to sell.

    May 3, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. g ontario

    this is funny shooting his mouth off without know facts isn,t the republican way

    May 3, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Getting into bed with the religious right was the biggest mistake in the history of the Republican party.

    May 3, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    He thinks people care who HE prefers -

    ha ha ha ha ha ha

    May 3, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Larry

    This whole political race is a joke.

    May 3, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. SH

    Don't worry Mr. Grayson, next week, he will ask for a do over and claim that he is switching his endorsement on the grounds that he was for you before he was against you. It's the american way.

    May 3, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Wisconsinite

    So basing his support on ONE issue . . . anti-choice! What an idiot! We CANNOT let these people run our lives any more!

    May 3, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Lawrence

    Lots of switching going on. Ronald Regan, George Bush, Sr,, and John McCain were all once Pro-Choice. Now, they all believe that life begins at conception, although there are certain circimstances which can make abortion (or killing – using the language of Dobson, Robertson, and others), morally acceptable. I wonder what made all these political folks change their moral perspective on abortion. Were these sound political or moral conversions? So many of them could care less about the born. How can we believe that they care about the unborn? I find that their conversions have little moral credibility.

    May 3, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Dann

    Shouldn't you do your own groundwork before your put your name behind something? This is like switching dates to the prom because "someone more popular asked me."

    May 3, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. Joseph B

    Dobson switches his endorsement when it looks like his horse in the race will lose.

    So Republicans lie about other people's positions to get votes? Has this ever happened before? Oh yeah – it's the current Republican platform and has been their strategy since at least the 80s.

    May 3, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. GOP = the great white dinosaur

    Awesome, he didn't change his mind because Paul will be a better leader, is more prepared, has expressed his groundwork to governing, has concrete ideas in how govern. No simply he is against-choice and believes men should control woman's bodies ~ what a sham.

    May 3, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. vs

    Dobson, Palin, Limbaugh, et al, should remind rational citizens to not just post comments deriding their behavior, but to show up at the polls and vote against every Republican in the upcoming elections. Remember, if you don't want these bigoted zealots to tell you how to live your lives, to loot the tax revenue for "the chosen few", then please show up at the polls!

    May 3, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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