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By Stephanie Garry February 14, 2008

McCain knew it would get him in trouble

James Dobson, an evangelical leader who founded the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, says he cannot support Sen. John McCain. He has gone so far as to say he will not vote for the first time in his life this November if McCain is the Republican nominee.

In a statement read by Laura Ingraham on her radio show, Dobson attacked McCain's conservative credentials, specifically his collegiality with Democrats. Dobson emphasized that the statement was his personal opinion, not that of Focus on the Family.

"I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are," the statement reads. "He has at times sounded more like a member of the other party. McCain actually considered leaving the GOP in 2001, and approached John Kerry about being Kerry's running mate in 2004. McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Given these and many other concerns, a spoonful of sugar does not make the medicine go down. I cannot, and I will not vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience."

We've addressed a claim on McCain being considered as a running mate to John Kerry here. So we'll focus on Dobson's claim that McCain once said Sen. Clinton would make a good president.

According to a transcript of Meet the Press, Dobson is right.

Wrapping up a Feb. 20, 2005, appearance from Baghdad during a joint trip, the senators praised each other in a light-hearted exchange. McCain even ended the interview by acknowledging what trouble he'd gotten into.

Russert: "Senator McCain, a serious question: Do you think the lady to your right would make a good president?"

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Clinton: "Oh, we can't hear you, Tim. We can't hear you."

McCain: "Yeah, you're breaking up. I am sure that Senator Clinton would make a good president. I happen to be a Republican and would support, obviously, a Republican nominee, but I have no doubt that Senator Clinton would make a good president."

Russert: "Equal time, Senator Clinton. The gentleman to your left?"

Clinton: "Absolutely."

Russert: "We may have a fusion ticket right here."

McCain: "Thanks for doing that to us. Thanks for doing that to us, Tim."

No spin in that exchange. We judge Dobson's statement to be True.

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McCain knew it would get him in trouble

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