Dobson says he 'might' endorse McCain


COLORADO SPRINGS — James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, said he is rethinking his previous views on the presidential election and that he "might" endorse Republican John McCain, who the pro-family leader has criticized in the past.

"I have considered the fact that elections always involve imperfect candidates ... you always have to choose between two flawed individuals," Dobson said on his national radio broadcast July 21. But Dobson also said there are several significant issues where he and McCain agree.

"As of this moment, I have to take into account that Sen. John McCain has voted pro-life consistently," Dobson said. "... He says he favors marriage between a man and a woman. He opposes homosexual adoption. He favors smaller government and lower taxes and he seems to understand the Muslim threat, which matters a lot to me. Therefore, I have considered the fact that elections always involve imperfect candidates — there are no perfect human beings — and you always have to choose between two flawed individuals.... I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but it's where I am: While I am not endorsing Sen. John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."

McCain supports embryonic stem cell research and has opposed a federal marriage amendment, although he has have left wiggle room on both issues and implied or said he could change. But he has sought to reach out to pro-lifers during campaign speeches; during one recent stop in Missouri he told the crowd that they could count on his "active advocacy for the rights of the unborn." He also has stated his support for a proposed California marriage amendment, which Obama opposes.

In February, Dobson said he was opposed to Republicans voting to make McCain their presidential nominee and said with McCain and Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as the nominees, he would not cast a ballot in November.

"There's no doubt — at least no doubt in my mind — about whose policies will result in more babies being killed or will do the greatest damage to the institution of marriage and the family," Dobson said. "I am convinced that Sen. McCain comes closer to what I believe."

Dobson said that Obama is an intelligent and charismatic candidate who, on the surface, is an attractive candidate. But Obama's beliefs on key issues, the two men said, should alarm conservative Christians.

Dobson said he thinks Obama is "more liberal and more extreme than most Democrats in the Senate." The "best example" of that, Dobson said, is the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which passed the Senate 98-0. Obama, then an Illinois state legislator, opposed a version of it on the state level. The bill would have given legal rights to babies who survive abortions.

Obama "was chairman of the committee who dealt with" the bill and "spoke against the bill, arguing for the right to kill those babies," Dobson said. Obama has a position that "even his liberal colleagues don't represent. This man is really far, far left."

Dobson said the point of the program was "not to tell people how to vote" but instead "to ask people to think about the issues."

Wire reports were used in this story.