Last spring, Dobson told U.S. News and World Report that he didn’t believe Thompson was a Christian, setting off a firestorm among Christians around the country. Dobson later apologized to Thompson, asking that the correspondence be kept in confidence. But according to a former Thompson associate, the Dobson camp immediately leaked the private letter, as well as the private letter Thompson passed on to Dobson.
“This is a Dobson media play, plain and simple,” says the former Thompson aide. “It’s his M.O. He wasn’t honest with Thompson back then, he’s been disingenuous about this for months and has made little to no effort to speak to Thompson.”
Now some members of the Arlington Group, of which Dobson is a founding member, are wondering if Dobson and his organization might not be doing for another presidential candidate what many believe Dobson did for Jack Abramoff’s lobbying firm back in 2002, when Abramoff in e-mails to cohort Ralph Reed was pressing for Dobson to attack Haley Barbour, whose lobbying firm had signed up a competing Indian tribe to the one that Abramoff was supposedly helping. Dobson has denied any involvement or contact with Abramoff.
“But in the back of people’s minds, there’s always been some doubt,” says a current member of the Arlington Group. “With Jim there is always a political angle to what he does, and in this political cycle, a lot of us are sensing that he feels like he’s out in the cold. He wants to be a kingmaker, but there isn’t a top tier candidate he can get behind. At least not yet.”
Assumptions in the Arlington Group are that Dobson, as well as others, may be pushing support for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is not considered a top tier candidate at this time. Dobson previously appeared to be providing support for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
“There is always [former Massachusetts governor Mitt] Romney,” says another prominent Arlington Group member. “But if Dobson can’t support Thompson, there’s no way he could possibly rationalize supporting Romney. At least Thompson has the consistent voting record to back up his claims.”p>
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