Back to previous page


Focus on Family founder James Dobson endorses Rick Santorum

By ,

James Dobson, the prominent social conservative leader and founder of Focus on the Family, formally endorsed former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) for president Thursday.

View Photo Gallery: The former House speaker is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

The move, which had been expected for days, comes two days before the pivotal South Carolina primary. It also comes as former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is vying with Santorum to round up the support of social conservatives, particularly backers of Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who dropped out of the presidential race Thursday morning and announced his support of Gingrich.

“While there are other GOP candidates who are worthy of our support, Sen. Santorum is the man of the hour,” Dobson said in a statement Thursday. “His knowledge of international politics, especially Israel and the turmoil in the Middle East, is highly relevant to the dangerous world in which we live. This is why I am endorsing former Senator Rick Santorum for president of the United States, and urge my countrymen to join us in this campaign.”

Dobson’s announcement comes nearly a week after he and 150 other conservative leaders huddled at a Texas ranch in an effort to rally around one candidate in the race.

After three rounds of balloting, Santorum emerged as the choice of a majority of those who attended, but some attendees later told reporters that the vote was sharply divided and that many social conservative leaders still planned to support Gingrich.

Politico reported this week that Dobson had some harsh words for Gingrich at the event; he reportedly reminded attendees that Callista Gingrich, Newt Gingrich’s wife, had been the candidate’s “mistress for eight years.”

Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne, went public with her account of her marriage to the candidate this week, telling The Washington Post and ABC News that Gingrich had wanted “an open marriage.”

Related:

GOP presidential election endorsements

The Washington Post’s presidential endorsement game

© The Washington Post Company