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Dennis Talks To Dr. James Dobson About Who He Will And Won't Vote For.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008 at 7:54 PM

DP: Perhaps the most influential Evangelical leader in the United States is on with me, Dr. James Dobson. And Jim, welcome to the Dennis Prager, you’ve been on many times, and I’ve been with you, and welcome back. 

JD: Dennis, we’ve been friends for a long time. This is only interview I’ve taken today, and I’ve been called by just about everybody in the media. So that tells you what I think of you. 

DP: Thank you, and it means a lot to me, and that’s why I asked to have you on for the same reason, because of my respect for you. And you are, you’re not a very happy man right now, are you? 

JD: Well, I’m very, very concerned right now. I released this statement this morning through Laura Ingraham. I don’t know if you’ve seen that.  

DP: Yes, I have. Yes. 

JD: Or if people have heard it. Have your radio listeners heard it? Are they aware of it? 

DP: No, no. I mentioned it in passing, but I wanted to get it straight from you, and I will read it after you’re off. I will read more in detail what you’ve written, But I will, in fact, to quote one thing from it, should Senator McCain capture the nomination, as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life. These decisions are my personal views, and they do not represent the organization of which I am affiliated, which of course is Focus On The Family, of which you are president and founder. Go ahead. 

JD: Well, Dennis, you know that I’m a patriot. I love my country. And I’m deeply concerned about it right now. And the fact that I would even consider not casting a vote for a presidential candidate, I certainly will vote for all the other issues and people on the ballot. But the fact that I would not vote for the president if it comes down to Obama and Clinton versus McCain, I simply can’t in good conscience be a party to putting any of them in power, because I believe they’ll do irreparable harm to our country. I certainly can’t vote for the Democrats because of what they stand for with regards to the family, and my views are largely influenced by what is best for the institution of the family, and for righteousness and the moral principles that I believe in. And I just see the Democrats being determined to take us in what they call a new direction, you know, we’re going to change things. Change things how? That doesn’t mean a blinking thing. Change things? Tell us how you’re going to change things. 

DP: Yeah. Well, as I… 

JD: Obama has even told us how he’s going to change things.  

DP: Well, he has.  I mean, he will be in the direction of all of Ted Kennedy’s policies, which is why Ted Kennedy’s so enthused. But let me go back to the Republicans. Can I infer from your letter, without…and I know, I don’t think you ever officially endorse a candidate, but can I infer from your letter support here for Mitt Romney? 

JD: No, you can’t I have never endorsed a presidential candidate in the primaries in my life, and the reason is because I really believe that’s what primaries are for. The rough and tumble of a campaign has a way of telling you what is inside an individual. And it is, I think it’s a good thing to allow the people to make that decision. And I, especially with what’s left in the Republican line-up, with Romney and Huckabee, they’re both pro-life, they’re both friends of mine, and I just do not want to be the one… 

DP: That’s fair enough.  

JD: …to push them over the edge.  

DP: Okay, that’s fair.  

JD: I can just tell you who I can’t vote for. 

DP: Got you. Then can I, and I’m not trying to put you in a corner, because I think this could be historic, that’s why I’m pressing here, though, as the Evangelical leader that you are, are you though giving a green light to those whose conscience, those Evangelicals who do support Mitt Romney’s politics, his Mormonism should not stand in the way of their vote? Are you prepared to say that? 

JD: Dennis, I don’t think that I can speak for other people as a matter of conscience. I just can speak for myself, and that’s really what I’m trying to do. I spent an hour and a half with Mitt Romney. 

DP: All right, I want to hear about that in a moment. 

- -    -   -   

DP: And I’ve been asking you, Jim Dobson, about Mitt Romney, and you were telling us that you had had a conversation with him.  

JD: I…excuse me, I did have a 90 minute conversation with him. I’ve also been talking to Mike Huckabee. So I don’t want to infer anything from that. But the hour and a half that four or five of my colleagues spent with Mitt Romney was very impressive. We asked him every question about what we care about that we could think of, and he seemed not only to have the answers to them, but seemed to understand the issues. I really believe the man has had an epiphany. People hit him hard for flip-flopping, but my goodness, Ronald Reagan flip-flopped on life, and so did George Herbert Walker Bush, and for that matter, McCain has flip-flopped on the border issue. So if that’s a disqualifier, it hits just about everybody. But I also want to say that Mike Huckabee is a very good man. I talked to him just two weeks ago, and I am just amazed at what he’s been able to do with so few resources. And so I’m just not going to put myself in a position of telling the American people, or those few who listen to me, what to do here. That’s a careful decision people are going to have to make. 

DP: Yes, and I honor that. So I’ll ask you one final one in that regard because of the religious factor, and whether to put it to rest or not. If Romney were the candidate, would you vote for him? 

JD: Yes. My theology is very, very different, obviously, and I would not find myself in agreement with the way he sees the Scripture, and of course, their own interpretation and extension of Scripture. So I’m not in any way minimizing that. It’s a very important issue. But I think we’re facing such a point of crisis in our country that we’re going to have to have the strongest leadership we can. And I think I could deal with that in the polling booth.  

DP: Well, I think that’s courageous, and I think that that’s important, and I believe, I have a lot of faith in America’s Evangelicals who I repeatedly think have been the backbone of whatever renaissance of values we’ve had in our country in the last decades. So I… 

JD: Dennis, I’m sorry, I never know when you’re going to a break, but can I just make one last statement? 

DP: Sure, please. 

JD: I’m expecting to be skewered, mostly by my friends, for what I’ve said today, because I’m getting criticism, unbelievably angry criticism from just about everybody. It’s amazing when you’re able to take people on all sides of this spectrum, and make them all mad. But there are McCain people, there are Romney people, there are Huckabee people, there are Democrats, there are, you know, former Giuliani people and so on. I just want to say for myself that I am not looking for a place at the table. I do not covet photo ops or the company of powerful people. In fact, in times of crisis, I’m inclined to believe that a blowout is better than a slow leak. And I will never choose the lesser of two evils if that lesser choice will also be evil, and is likely to contradict my moral convictions and beliefs. So I’m speaking for myself. Obviously, these are the reasons I’d make a terrible politician, because some things just can’t be compromised. But that’s what’s at stake here. I have come telling my friends what I think. They can do what they think is right, and if they want to get mad at me, then that’s okay.  

DP: Well, I’m not mad at you at all, and I salute your courage. But I, depending on how John McCain evolves in the course of this time, and you do accept evolution of people, and it’s a poor term… 

JD: You want to take another run at that? 

DP: Yeah, I do (laughing). Yes, but how about penitence. I think that that’s better. 

JD: That’s good. That’s good.  

DP: Yes, I prefer that. All right, that’s fine. But I would hope that when faced, if faced, and I hope we’re not faced, frankly, I hope that Mitt Romney can be the nominee, but if we are faced with John McCain, the destructive nature of the Democratic Party at this time in our country’s history is so great, that I would hope that you would be able to honorably rethink this position. But there’s no question that it comes from a place of conscience and courage, and that I recognize.  

JD: Dennis, I’ve been here before. In 1996, I spent four hours with Bob Dole, and I sat with him in the Senate dining room, and I begged him to give us some indication that he would appoint pro-life justices, and that he was leaning in that direction. I could not get him to say that. It was very troubling to me. Then he went to the convention, as you may recall, and the platform called for a pro-life policy. And he held it up, and he said not only will I not abide by it, I won’t even read it. And I couldn’t vote for him. And I voted for somebody who didn’t have a chance. There is a matter of conscience for me that you know, I will admit that I lie awake nights thinking of what Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would do… 

DP: Exactly. All right, in a moment, we’ll have a final thought with Jim Dobson. 

- -   -  -  

DP: Two big things. One is at this time, at any rate, and I’m putting those words in here, I admit that, Jim, he would not vote for president, vote for everything else on the ballot, but for the first time, he would not vote for president if it were John McCain versus either of the leading Democrats. And second, though, that he would vote, and this preeminent Evangelical would in fact vote for Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, if Mitt Romney were the candidate. And of course, you would vote for Mike Huckabee if Mike Huckabee were the candidate. But that looks very, very unlikely. Do you have a final word for my listeners? 

JD: Dennis, I just think it’s important to say again I’m speaking for myself, and not for Focus On The Family. The board of directors is not speaking through me on this. I am just sharing my own thoughts and my own beliefs after considerable prayer. And I want to say to your listeners out there especially those who share my understanding and theology, that we need to be bathing our country in prayer, particularly this day, because the future of the country kind of stands as a crossroads. And I do pray that we’ll do the right thing.  

DP: Thank you, my friend. It’s been an honor to talk to you.  

JD: Thank you, Dennis, as always. Bye bye. 

DP: Bye bye. 

End of interview.

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