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. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    Someone Smiling in Texas,

    You are exactly what is wrong with our current society. "I loose my home it's because of the bank for lending me the money and my fault for not being a rich republican and not being able to pay my mortgage." I think that is arguably the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time. Since when did some rich republican force you to sign that mortgage you can't afford? When did it become ok to blame others for your irresponsible mistake?

    The problem is, the government will now allow you to stay in your home, even though you still CAN'T afford it, and in the end the only lesson you will have learned is this...."I can do whatever I want, and when things go wrong, the government will bail me out!" Senseless!!

    April 2, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Karen, TN

    Please post my comment CNN! If "someone smiling in texas" who thinks they bear no fault for borrowing money they can't afford to pay back can get their comment posted, I should be able to too.

    I'm a fairly conservative voter, and I grew up listening to James Dobson on the radio. With no disrespect intended, I have to say that his all or nothing stance towards conservatism is the divider here. We have two different sides with widely differing views (both sides have thought a lot about their views -it's not that they're uneducated or anything) and if we expect to get anything at all done, there's going to have to be some compromising. Either side may not like it, but that's the fact. I'm not crazy about McCain, but the fact that he wants to reach out to moderates and independents can hardly be seen as a negative thing in my opinion.

    April 2, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Ed in Dallas

    Perhaps James Dobson should leave the Republican party and take all his religious extremist followers with him. McCain might lose if the religious right stays home, but at least the Republican party could then return to its roots as an economically conservative, socially tolerant party of limited government, free trade and individual liberties. And the far right can go and form their own party of people who want to create a theocracy, and live on the political margins where they belong.

    What I like best about McCain is that he never pandered to the religious right and has always stayed true to his own beliefs.

    April 2, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Chris, Albany NY

    Yeah Jim, that's a good move. McCain will just keep on leading us down ol' Georges' path. That makes no sense. If Obama is the nominee he should be perfect for you they are both trying to rev up the indy's. I don't think HRC is going to get much from independents. So I guess I'm confused by your response.

    Dem for Obama!

    April 2, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. akaDoug

    Dobson won' t have to worry if Clinton wins! Because the GOP will come and in force to vote against her and the rest of the Dems that don't like her will stay home! It would be a landslide, she won't even win California!

    Elect the better candidate and the only hope against Dobson, McCain and the GOP! Elect Obama 2008!

    April 2, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. MH

    To Sheila: Should the Gov't bail out everybody that signed up for a mortgage they couldn't offered? The banks are also at fault, but ultimately the homeowner has a responsibilty.

    April 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |

    To Jim from NC, it sems to me that you are not truly imformed of the status of this economy. I hope there are not too many Democrats or Independents that are thinking like you are. And yes, also Republicans.

    April 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. MH

    To Sheila: Should the Gov't bail out everybody that signed up for a mortgage they couldn't afford? The banks are also at fault, but ultimately the homeowner has a responsibilty.

    April 2, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Peter in Canada

    The saddest part of this current election cycle is that people like Dobson are actually the common enemy! A victoty by McCain would certainly help eradicate the influence of the far right Christian wing of the Republican Party.
    As a pro-life, somewhat homophobic Christian married to an agnostic who reads extensively on these right wing nuts, they are the single largest threat to your society! Read their definition of "conservative" vs. "liberal" and you will get the picture clearly.
    If I could vote in your election...it would be a no brainer...Obama or McCain.

    April 2, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. WOW!

    People need to stop letting their emotions take over and vote what is in their best interests. Dr.
    Dobson, since when does Christ advocate torture? THat does not make sense.
    And for ANY democrate that would not vote for whomever gets nominated....you are CRAZY! I mean McCain and the democrates are SO different! There is no way you can be for one democrate OR McCain!

    April 2, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    I would respect the man if he actually would focus on the family and not on grabbing headlines for himself and condoning the anti-biblical greed, poor-environmental stewardship, pro-torture and anti-poor policies of the Republican. People like Dobson and all of these other religous right-wing acts make me ashamed to be identified as a Christian. I can't change my faith it's who I am but I can definitely say that these "Religous"-Right power-mongers do not represent me.

    April 2, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Former Dem

    Dobson is full of it. We don't need the Right Wing Minority of the Republican party to win in November. So stop crying and vote for whomever, but allow McCain and the Moderates in the Party to win in November. Unless your agenda is to elect a Democrat.

    Your candidate lost (Huckabee) so live with it.

    This is about saving our country not saving the Republican party.

    April 2, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Would Jesus condone torture?

    My bible says NO!

    This guy calling himself a Christian is blasphemus!

    It's time for a change in Washington.


    April 2, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Bayou Joe

    Dobson is part of the problem in the Republican camp. McCain has the support of Americans not necessarily party members. He will win because he exemplifies what it is to be an American. That is why he appeals to Hillary Democrats and to Moderate Republicans that don't believe in the welfare state and support their country in times of peace and war.

    Dobson, the enemy is not McCain. The enemy is Radical Islam, both here and abroad.

    April 2, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Ram

    Dobson, a conservative christian is all screwed up in his head. McCain is a little bit moderate & in some issues makes a lot of sense & in some other is screwed up. I would rather have McCain as President than Dobson.Dobson & some others are religious fanatics. Over Zealous liberals, conservatives or religious(any religion) fanatics all fail to do good for the people & the country. We do not need them. We want the people who take a middle path, practical, considerate, has the integrity and will to do good for the people & the world.

    April 2, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Alonzo Demetrius

    Actually, Dr Dobson speaks only for himself. He has not been elected by conservaties or anyone else to speak for them. Sen McCain is the most conservative of the candidates, and we must remember that. It is our own fault, we conservatives, that we have not persuaded more Americans to join our way of thinking. There is no way conservatism can get anything done in Congress, now that it is mostly liberal and moderate. McCain is the best chance we have of a toehold in the US government, the way we have let it slide away from us.

    Dr Dobson has had a large part in the demise of conservatism in our country. Many of us believe as he does, but we don't support publicly denouncing everything/everyone we do not agree with, as he does.

    April 2, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. RM

    It seems to me that the conservative base is actually the one fracturing the party.
    Does this mean that DR Dobson is in favor of turture?

    April 2, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. The Perpetual Student

    This is what many people don't realize. Everyone says that McCain is going to win because the Dems are fighting one another. Well, the Reps aren't that united either!

    April 2, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Nick, CA

    Amen, RAJ.

    Let's make four parties, 4 candidates. Huckabee, McCain, Obama, Clinton. Fun, no?

    April 2, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Denise

    Senator McCain is a democrat at heart. Democrats love John McCain!

    April 2, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Immoral Minority

    Dobson is one of the most narrow minded, predjudiced, "bible thumpers" in the U.S. It's "his way or the highway". This bird doesn't understand nor care about "judge not lest ye be judged". Disgusting.

    April 2, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. David

    The whole "fractured party" argument is silly. There is no way the ultra-conservatives are going to vote for Hillary or Obama. Dobson is just upset that the ultra-conservative right wing has lost some of its grip on the Republican party...and it's about time.

    April 2, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Ratgurl

    The world is changing... the old school politicians need to learn how to change with it.

    April 2, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. david anastos

    Dobson is a 1 issue fringe player, who cares

    April 2, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. David S

    Jim NC. John McCain might take your vote but he will question your loyalty. If you believe that the dems are right on the policies but you vote Repub just to spite one of the candidates then you are just a dummy.

    April 2, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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