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James Dobson endorses Rand Paul, apologizes for having previously backed his opponent

Well, this is a twist. On April 26, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson endorsed Trey Grayson over Rand Paul in Kentucky's GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

Trey Grayson is the only candidate with the conviction to lead on the issues that matter to Kentucky families. His unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life and the family resonates with me. I know that he will be a leader on these issues, not just another Senator who checks the box. As a matter of conscience, I encourage Kentuckians to support Trey Grayson on May 18th.

What did that mean? Dobson had been convinced, by a fairly successful whisper campaign, that Rand Paul's libertarian approach to the abortion issue was more or less pro-choice. That's not what Paul has ever said, though; like his father he's anti-abortion rights but wants the issue decided in the states. And over the course of a week, the Paul campaign convinced Dobson on this point. Today, Dobson switched his endorsement. His statement:

Have you ever made an embarrassing mistake? I did just that last week. I was given misleading information about the candidacy of Dr. Rand Paul, who is running in the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate. Senior members of the GOP told me Dr. Paul is pro-choice and that he opposes many conservative perspectives, so I endorsed his opponent.

But now I've received further information from OB/GYN's in Kentucky whom I trust, and from interviewing the candidate himself.

I now know that he is avidly pro life. He believes that life begins at conception.

He opposes earmarking and supports Israel. He identifies with the Tea Party movement and believes in home schooling. Sounds like my kind of man.

If I lived in Kentucky, I would vote for Dr. Rand Paul. Would you consider sending him to the U.S. Senate to shake things up in Washington?

And that text is now on the airwaves in Kentucky via Paul's new radio ad.

By David Weigel  |  May 3, 2010; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Abortion  
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Next: Todd Palin backs Sen. Lisa Murkowski's opponent

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