COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Sen. John McCain said Tuesday he hopes to patch things up with conservative Christian leader James Dobson, who recently said he would not support the Republican's presidential bid under any circumstances.
In a radio interview with KCBI, a Dallas Christian station, Dobson argued that McCain did not support traditional marriage values and said he has prayed "we won't get stuck with him." Dobson is founder of the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family.
"I'm obviously disappointed and I'd like to continue and have a dialogue with Dr. Dobson and other members of the community," McCain said Tuesday during a stop in Columbia.
McCain has said gay marriage should not be legal but has angered some conservatives with his opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions. The Arizona senator said the issue should be left to the states.
"I'm happy to say that I've established a dialogue with a number of other leaders," including the Rev. Jerry Falwell, "Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.
McCain has reached out to conservatives he once crossed. Last May, he spoke at Falwell's Liberty University in Virginia. In 2000, Falwell opposed McCain's campaign for the Republican nomination and supported George W. Bush. At the time, McCain labeled Falwell and others on the right and the left as "agents of intolerance."
During his 2000 presidential bid, McCain also criticized Bob Jones University, a Christian fundamentalist college, for its ban on interracial dating.
In a Republican candidates' debate with Bush, McCain said that given the opportunity to speak at the school as Bush had, he would have said: "Look, what you're doing in this ban on interracial dating is stupid, it's idiotic, and it is incredibly cruel to many people."
McCain said last year that he would not turn down an opportunity to speak at Bob Jones.
Since 2000, the school has lifted its interracial dating ban.