Gary Bauer has bowed out of the presidential race, but his high political profile already has attracted some conservative Christian disquiet.
"I am a little surprised by the vehemence, but I did think I would get some reaction" to staying in the political arena to endorse presidential contender John McCain, Bauer says.
"I am getting lots of mail and phone calls repeating the untrue charges that McCain is proabortion, has two illegitimate children, and curses," Bauer says.
The former Family Research Council (FRC) president withdrew from the GOP presidential primaries after his loss in New Hampshire in February.
After Bauer's endorsement, James Dobson of Focus on the Family circulated a letter—as a private citizen—questioning whether McCain would make prolife appointments if elected president.
At the moment, Bauer's home is still the campaign trail. Some critics at the FRC let him know that he would not be welcomed back. Some cited an organizational confusion that Bauer left behind. Others, more sympathetic to Bauer, believe his Republican activism would clash with the nonprofit organization's nonpartisan stance.
Bauer says he knew that many would not welcome his return to FRC. Last fall, an internal survey showed more than 60 percent of FRC staff members believed that somebody with a politically partisan high profile should not lead FRC.
Staff members interviewed by CHRISTIANITY TODAY say most people took this to mean that Gary Bauer should not come back as the center's president.
Bauer shrugs off the FRC flap, saying he is now engaged in saving the election prospects of the Republican Party. "I think that if the battle between these two men [George W. Bush and McCain] is so nasty, we may as well send an engraved invitation to Al ...1
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