By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Mitt Romney announced today that he has suspended his campaign for the good of the Republican party and the upcoming presidential race in the face of Sen. John McCain’s overwhelming primary victories on Tuesday. However, McCain’s victory has spurred cries of alarm from conservative leaders.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who saw the establishment of same-sex “marriage” in that state, told conservatives gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he was abandoning the campaign trail for the sake of the US “War on Terror” and the good of the GOP.
“I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror,” Romney said. “If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”
He continued, “This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters… many of you right here in this room… have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.”
Romney’s exit leaves Huckabee in the race, who is third in the delegate count. The Associated Press reported Romney gained a total of 269 delegates and Huckabee had 190; both are dwarfed by McCain’s commanding lead of 613 delegates.
Republicans are voting Saturday in caucuses in Kansas, Louisiana and Washington, which will be followed by the “Potomac primaries” Tuesday in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
However, McCain’s ascendancy has provoked cries of alarm from conservative leaders, who say the GOP leader is the furthest thing from a conservative, and has in fact severely undermined free speech rights and damaged the pro-life and pro-family cause.
Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement broadcasted to national audiences on the Laura Ingraham show that he could not vote for McCain as a “matter of conscience.”
“I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language,” Dobson stated.
“McCain actually considered leaving the GOP caucus in 2001, and approached John Kerry about being Kerry’s running mate in 2004,” Dobson continued. ” McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Given these and many other concerns … I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.”
Dobson said he spoke as a private citizen, and his statements were not those of Focus on the Family, but “reflect my deeply held convictions about the institution of the family, about moral and spiritual beliefs, and about the welfare of our country.” He said that with McCain as the nominee this November would be the first time he would not cast a ballot for president in his life.
Dobson’s statement appeared to be good news for Huckabee, who has a solid record on life and family, but is not considered a governmental conservative. However, the former Arkansas governor instead turned around on CNN and lambasted Dobson and other conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh for refusing to vote if McCain is the GOP nominee saying they were “not a conservative.”
“If they say that, then that just proves something: They’re more about themselves than they are the cause. Because there’s no way that a true conservative would vote for Hillary Clinton.” He told CNN he respects McCain and “would certainly vote for him before I would vote for Hillary or Obama.”
Huckabee has curried favor with McCain throughout the campaign trial, stirring up speculation as to whether the candidate is jockeying for Vice-President should he fail to win the delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the Republican Convention in St. Paul/Minneapolis.
Dobson responded to criticisms today on the Glenn Beck show for his stand saying he was “between a rock and a hard place,” but would not fall in the trap of voting for the lesser of two evils.
“I know the dangers of what Clinton and Obama stand for,” he said today. “I know what they will do to us. And yet, I’m being asked to do something that contradicts my conscience.”