Update: Since writing this, Glen Johnson at the AP has written on the whole Romney/porn story. He quoted Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council. At the very least, this puts an exclamation point on my second point below. Clearly the Focus/FRC operation has engaged for Thompson and against Romney. A very, very bad day for Mitt Romney. And a very, very good one for Fred Thompson.
So, I read three things today that made a thunderclap in my head about the support of the Christian right in the 2008 GOP presidential nomination fight.
First, Focus on the Family ran a segment entitled, "Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, an outspoken critic of pornography, is called to task for his ties to Marriott hotels; a chain that makes money by providing porn to guests." In other words and in reality, James Dobson signed off on an attack on Mitt Romney, something that had not been done earlier. This story had been previously reported by CBN’s David Brody and had been covered by a lot of mainstream press. This is, however, the first time, other than CBN, that it made it into the Christian press. And you can’t beat the Christian radio networks for targeting devoted listeners.
Second, Hugh Hewitt pointed out that the new site Blogs for Fred was founded by Joe Carter, who writes Evangelical Outpost. Joe also works at the Family Research Council where his title is director of Web Communications. Now, I am sure that this is not on behalf of FRC, but….
Third, Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary and an evangelical leader beyond the 30+ million Southern Baptists begins an online debate taking the position that "Mormonism is not Christianity."
My reading? Christian right leaders have found their man in Fred Thompson, after a long, but ultimately unsuccessful courtship with Mitt Romney. This reminds me of the 2003 and 2004 buttons and bumper stickers "Dated Dean, Married Kerry."
If more attacks from the right emerge against Romney, I think that it will be fair to say that this is a push for Thompson.