While John McCain has risen to the top of the heap among contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson remains adamant that he will not support McCain’s bid for the White House.
Dobson, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical Christians, declared more than a year ago that he wouldn't support McCain under any circumstances, saying McCain didn't support traditional marriage values.
A Dobson spokesman told the New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick Wednesday that he stood by that position, and as a matter of conscience could never vote for the Arizona Senator.
According to the paper, Dobson is joined by a slew of other prominent conservatives who oppose McCain on a number of issues:Talk radio host Mark Levin urged visitors to the National Review’s Web site to “rally for Romney” to ward off a McCain win, saying: “Conservatives need to act now, before it is too late.”Talker Rush Limbaugh told listeners on Thursday: “McCain is in a lot of these places not actually the Republican candidate. He is the candidate of enough Republicans, but [also] independents and moderates and probably even some liberals.”Pat Toomey, president of the anti-tax organization Club for Growth, said in comments reported by the New York Times: “I have yet to see McCain make any attempts to reach out to free market conservatives.”
Conservatives fault McCain for voting against President Bush’s tax cuts and a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and for supporting embryonic stem cell research, looser immigration rules and stricter environmental regulations.
Conservatives were particularly irked when McCain made a deal with Democrats to break a deadlock on judicial nominations, according to the Times.
Anger over that compromise was rekindled this week when Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund wrote that McCain had privately criticized Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito because “he wore his conservatism on his sleeve.” The McCain campaign denied that report.
Following McCain successes in early primary states, however, other conservatives are beginning to warm up to his campaign:Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, who previously opposed a McCain nomination, said: “He has moved in the right direction strongly and forcefully on taxes.”Former McCain foe Tony Perkins, a prominent Christian conservative, told the Times: “I have no residual issue with John McCain,” adding the candidate needed to “better communicate” his stand on social issues.Richard Land, an official with the South Baptist Convention, agreed, noting that McCain “is strongly pro-life.” He said: “When I hear Rush Limbaugh say that a McCain nomination would destroy the Republican Party, what I want to say to Rush is, ‘You need to get out of the studio more and talk to real people.’”
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