Dobson makes surprise appearance at Santorum event
February 2nd, 2012
12:28 AM ET
3 years ago

Dobson makes surprise appearance at Santorum event

Colorado Springs, Colorado (CNN) -– Often seen as the candidate best-equipped to appeal to social conservatives, Rick Santorum tried to capitalize on that reputation by welcoming special guest James Dobson on stage with him Wednesday night for a one-on-one conversation.

After delivering a pointed version of his stump speech before a crowd of more than 1,200 people at Mr. Biggs Family Funhouse here, Santorum introduced Dobson, founder of the conservative group Focus on the Family.

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Dobson, who endorsed Santorum in January, made the point that he was at the event “as a private individual,” and this disclaimer may have allowed him to be a bit more candid.

“It would appear to me that Mitt Romney is not a conservative,” Dobson said to much applause. “And Newt Gingrich is not – well I don’t know what he is. You’re the only true conservative in the race.”

The two men then had a conversation that veered more personal than political, with Dobson explaining the rationale behind his decision to support Santorum in the Republican primary.

“I believe you really care about the moral integrity of this nation and I believe you will fight for it,” Dobson said to Santorum. “Fight for marriage and fight for the unborn child and fight for the all the other principles that matters so much to me and so many others.”

During his opening remarks, Santorum suggested that his image as a staunch social conservative potentially damaged his efforts to appeal to the majority of the Republican electorate whose primary concern for 2012 is the flagging economy.

“I had the highest favorability as anybody in Florida,” Santorum said. “But I didn’t win, even though I had the most positive – highest positive, lowest negative. I didn’t win, and you ask the people why, ‘well, we’re not sure you can win. People think you’re a social conservative and we need someone who’s an economic conservative.’”

But looking at the issues, Santorum argued, none of the three other major GOP candidates differ in their stated positions on social issues.

“What makes me more socially conservative than they? Some would suggest that I actually believe what I’m saying as opposed to them,” Santorum said.

The inability to believe what his opponents say has been a major part of Santorum’s stump speech in recent days. His most impassioned moments have consistently come while talking about Romney’s Massachusetts health care reform plan and such was the case in this socially conservative town on Wednesday.

“How can Governor Romney go up against Barack Obama in the general election and have any legitimacy to go after the number one economic crushing, job crushing, government infringing, freedom robbing piece of legislation that was the center point of the last election,” Santorum said, growing more passionate. “Why in the world would the Republican Party nominate Mitt Romney to go forward and take on Barack Obama?”

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Filed under: 2012 • Colorado • James Dobson • Rick Santorum
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    “I believe you really care about the moral integrity of this nation and I believe you will fight for it,” Dobson said to Santorum.

    I wish they both had enough guts to talk about birth control .

    February 2, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  2. donna

    It makes me sick to my stomach to watch James Dobson parading "Jesus Christ" around as a political endorsement. If "Thirty-silvers Santorum" was really a believer, then he would object to the blasphemy. But he can't do that, since he needs the votes.

    February 2, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  3. Willie Floyd

    He does a good speech and I don't doubt he is a good person-but the vast majority of Americans want to remain a democracy-we don't want a theocracy. Even as a Christian, I believe in separation of church and state. That is the only way our country can continue to guarantee each citizen equal rights.

    OBAMA/BIDEN

    February 2, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  4. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Go home Ricky.

    February 2, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  5. Don

    Its time tfor the Christian Right to get in line. They are going to have a Mormon as their nominee. Someone that does not agree with their fundamental position on Christianity. The 21st century Republican party is "evolving" deal with it.

    February 2, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  6. Marlee

    Santorum makes the GOP look better. I like him, but I think Dr. Ron Paul is the one who has the best chance of defeating Obama.

    February 2, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  7. GI Joe

    We don't need to live in a Theocracy. Dobson is a nutjob. Glad Ricky-poo likes him so much. YUCK

    February 2, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, I think that there are questions as to what a conservative really is. This doesn't help me.

    February 2, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  9. madmaninthemiddle

    We stand today with the Prince of Peace who taught us to love our enemies like our brothers and humbly say, gather up your rocks and stones, for there is a faggot in our midst and he must die. Amen

    February 2, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  10. sensible

    Laurel and Hardy had more sense than this pair....."I'm sorry Ollie (James)"!

    February 2, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  11. sensible

    Sanitorium reminds me of Howdy Doody.....or maybe Pee-Wee Herman....I wonder what he is hiding?

    February 2, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. Sage Sophos

    If conservatist are true to their values and not their payroll masters they could be flocking in drove to this guy. Like him or not he is true to his values and atleast he stands for something.

    February 2, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  13. gimmesometruth

    Santorum is being financially subsidized by backers of Romney in order to stop conservative unity. Santorum knows it and is taking advantage of that and campaigning to help Romney and hurt Gingrich. Everyone in the media knows it but won't report on the story because they prefer Romney if Obama loses. However, this story might get out soon because it is becoming clearer that Romney cannot win over someone with equal money like Obama who at least really represents the people not just himself

    Santorum will be seen as a traitor when the smoke clears.

    February 2, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |