April 2nd, 2008
11:57 AM ET
15 years ago

Dobson: McCain 'fracturing' party

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/02/art.dobsonmc.gi.jpg caption="Dobson had some tough words for McCain Wednesday."](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

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. areUkiddingme

    Hey someone smiling in Texas. Is it possible you are losing your home becuase you weren't smart enough to invesitgate your loan before taking it.

    Only a fool would buy something they could not afford. And it is pathetic that you would try to blame someone else for your own inability to make a sound financial decision.

    I am sorry you are losing your home but come on, how about a little personal responsibility.

    April 2, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. kj

    As an evangelical Christian, I resent that Dobson seems to think that being pro-torture is something that disqualifies a person from being conservative.

    Dobson is taking his disservice to the evangelical movement to new heights . . .

    April 2, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Objectivity

    Who cares if you have been a hard core dem all your life?

    April 2, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. P. Drool

    The story the MSM seems to overlook or not understand is just what a stunning defeat McCain's nomination is for the hard right (so-called neoconservative) wing of the GOP.

    This wing thought both the party and the nation belonged to them after the 2004 election. Now they've lost control of the Congress and the nominating process. It's a stunning reversal of fortune, and a near-Biblical example of how hubris does in the high and mighty.

    It's also very satisfying, at least to me.

    April 2, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Debbie

    So, James Dobson is pro-torture and anti-environment? Not very Christian of him...

    April 2, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. reba

    Well, Jim from NC, if you really do count yourself as a hard-core Democrat, it is pretty shocking that you'll vote for John McCain over Obama. McCain's stances on the war in Iraq, how he'll handle the economic and mortgage crises facing this country, his flip-flop on torture, his Bush-like foreign policy, and his commitment to put anti-choice, hard-line conservative judges in the federal court are completely opposite of what a "hard-core Democrat" believes in. I guess that your commitment to Hillary Clinton is greater than it is to the ideals and vision of the Democratic party. How sad.

    April 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. lol

    since when does conservatism condone tortue? I think Dobson is confusing the U.S. political right with, say Stalinism or Monarchism

    April 2, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Greg

    The Republican party needs some fracturing at this point.

    Needs to lose the Evangelical element and get back to what the Republican party is all about; conservative fiscal policies, lower government spending and a smaller government overall.

    John McCain is EXACTLY what the Republican party needs at this time.

    April 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Chris in Columbus

    Oh knock it off, Jim, nobody that was going to vote Hillary is going to vote for McCain and you well know it. Empty words from supporters of an empty candidate. At worst, the few supporters of Hillary will just stay home. Just like most of the supporters of Obama will if Hillary gets in. And Hillary can't win without us, but we can win without her.

    April 2, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Sheila

    To Jim (life long Dem) from NC..Yes, take your toys and go vote for McCain if Hillary isn't the nominee..Yes, help sentence this country to another 4 yrs of bad economy, permanent tax cuts, no help for homeowners in trouble with their mortgages, and a possible 2 more seats on the Supreme court. In your stubborness to vote against Obama (if he wins the nomination) you might be able to ride out the storm for another 4yrs, but can America?

    April 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Steve

    It is interesting to hear that "the conservative Christian icon" is upset that the Senator doesn't believe in torture.

    What's the matter with McCain?

    Isn't he a Christian?

    April 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Stavy

    These conservatives are sounding dumber by the day, no wonder they supported Bush. Can't even stand Fox news anymore. Mcain does not need them and should not court them at all if he wants to be different from Bush.

    April 2, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. give me a break

    C'mon someone smiling. You don't see any personal responsibility if you lose your house, and it's all the bank's fault? It takes two to tango. A bank's predatory lending practices only work if there is someone on the other end accepting them. It's really unfortunate that no one takes responsibility for their actions (neither the banks who shouln't get the bail out, or the homeowners who are looking for one).

    By the way, none of the candidates really get the economy, so it's all a matter of what we're willing to settle for.

    April 2, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Molly

    If you vote for McCain, you were always a Republican at heart, just like Hillary. We won't miss you.

    April 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Joe from Ohio

    Dobson is a self centered little boy. When we doesn't get his way he wants to take his toys and go home. I say let Jimmy take his toys and go home.

    I am a conservative and I supoort John McCain. He is a man with integrity, courage and loyality. Maybe Mr Dobson can learn something from Senator McCain!!!

    April 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Paul

    I am a diehard Republican who totally disagrees with Mr. Dobson.Sen. McCaIN is a man of intergrity who does not believe in pork or politics for politics sake. If he upsets some hardline Rep. I can live with that. We have to be able to reach across the aisle of Congress as Sen, Mccain has shown a willingness to do. The hardline members of the Republican party shoud meet Se. Mc.C on his side of the aisle and give us good government.

    April 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. shane

    To Sheila- Hillary supporters like JIM dont care about this country. They simply want to see Hillary in the whitehouse. NOt only would voting for Mccain lead to a perpetual occupation of Iraq, $5 gas, it would lead to conservative judges as you say, tax cuts for the wealthy, greater chasm between haves/havenots, a possible war with Iran and so on and so on. Im a die hard Obama supporter who would vote for hillary any day over Mccain. BUt what some hillary supporters dont understand is that voting for Mccain over Obama isnt hurting Obama. Hes a Millionaire. His kids have the best of the best. Voting for Mccain only hurts them! THey will have to deal with their job being shipped overseas, not Obama! They will have to deal with $4 gas, not obama! IT just shows you the mindstate of Hillary supporters. They are obsessed with getting her in the Whitehouse. Its more about Hillary than it is this country.

    April 2, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. MK


    April 2, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. K, Florida

    Hey James; We've tried Your idea of a "Unified" party since the 90's. Guess what? I'd rather have Chaos! We don't need another term of hate mongering! Religion needs to stay in the churches and out of politics. Please lets not muddy the whirlpool any more than it already is! We have too much to figure out and solve as it is, without worrying about the right wing christian's social issues of hatred.

    April 2, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Hamlet Canosa

    One wonders whether some might begin to ask, "Render unto Dobson that which is Dobson's and unto God that which is God's." How much more appropriate it seems to have a man of the cloth speak to the more weighty spiritual issues affecting society than to delve so deeply into the mire of politics.

    April 2, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Ben, Keene NH

    The party is being fractured not by McCain but by Dobson and the rest of the Republican Party's authoritarian right wing that demands absolute obedience to its creed. The party's momentum is seeking to break from the grip of the religious authoritarians that has held it by the throat since Ronald Reagan's days and Dobson seeks to blame others for driving people from what he regards as the true Republican Party. The public has tired of the religious right wing's sense of entitlement and is moving on at last. Praise the Lord!.

    April 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Tyrone Brown, Seattle, WA

    What did John McCain say at the "Council on National Policy that 'thoroughly disappointed and irritated' many in attendance?"

    Maybe McCain said the US needs to show some leadership and take care of God's beautiful green earth (global warming) or maybe "to do unto others as we would want other to do unto us" (zero tolerance on torture).

    James Dobson gives Christianity a bad name...but then again, he's only human.

    April 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Chris

    I love all these evangelicals who think they are the only ones that matter. He should be more concerned about unifying the United States of America rather than just the Republicans.

    April 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Ken in Dallas

    Dobson? DOBSON??

    Do Republicans have to unite behind a demagogue who wants to make the US government into a Christian knock-off of the Taliban to be a viable party? Yikes.

    April 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. After further review,Texas

    Dobson and his church should start paying taxes for sticking their beaks in to affairs of State.

    April 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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