National Review Online's Jim Geraghty scored a nice scoop following up on The Boston Globe's March reporting on The Arlington Group. The Globe had reported that the Arlington Group, a meeting of top-level conservative Christian advocacy organization leaders, is interviewing candidates in hopes that its members can "coalesce around one candidate that prominent members such as James Dobson ... could endorse individually."
"We've been meeting with candidates for a year, every one of the major candidates except Giuliani," Gary Bauer told Geraghty. "Many of us are intrigued and excited by Thompson, but we have great concerns about his advocacy of federalism in dealing with the issue of protecting the sanctity of marriage, and that is certainly an issue we want to discuss with him further." (Geraghty had a follow-up with Bauer after the Arlington Group's meeting Thursday.)
Another member of the Arlington Group, unnamed, confirmed Bauer's summary, and says the group hasn't "coalesced" yet. "There has been a great deal of excitement about the possibility of a Thompson campaign; many of us are very happy about how clearly he criticized and called for the overturn of Roe v. Wade," the source said. "But there is concern that the federalist constitutional amendment that he leans toward on marriage just wouldn't work."
Bad news for Mike Huckabee:
Asked about the rumor that members of the group might be flirting with Huckabee, this individual responded, while never mentioning the Arkansas Governor directly, "it's not just that the candidate will be philosophically in tune; we have a realistic understanding that in a cycle where everything is bunched up in the front like this, you have got to be able to bring in major resources, enough to compete in 20 states at once. This makes a number of candidates not as viable to us as they might otherwise be."
Remember: You won't hear the "Arlington Group" endorsing anyone. What you'll hear is Arlington Group members singing from the same songsheet. That's the whole idea of the group: to unify the efforts of religious conservative political groups.
Update: The Associated Press also has reporting on the Arlington Group's meeting.