Dobson to Senate: Don't block Bush's judges

/ Source: The Associated Press

James Dobson, the conservative leader who used his radio program to call on millions of Christians to vote in the November election, warned in a letter that some senators “will be in the ‘bull’s-eye”’ if they block President Bush’s judicial nominees.

A January letter from Dobson to supporters of Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs-based group he founded, suggests that Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. was defeated in November in part for blocking votes on Bush nominees.

“Let his colleagues beware, especially those representing ‘red’ states,” Dobson says, a reference to states that voted for Bush. “Many of them will be in the ‘bull’s-eye’ the next time they seek re-election.”

He cites Democrats Bill Nelson of Florida, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Dems defend record
Jude McCartin, a spokeswoman for Bingaman, disputed the assertion that Democrats have blocked an unusual number of Bush’s nominees.

“It’s a false premise to begin with that there has been a significant problem in President Bush’s nominees,” McCartin said Saturday.

Democrats say 204 of Bush’s judicial nominees were confirmed during his first term and that the percentage of vacant federal judgeships is the lowest in 16 years.

McCartin also questioned the suggestion that the six senators were vulnerable, saying Bingaman won more than 62 percent of the vote in his last election in 2000.

“They didn’t look closely behind the numbers in this case,” she said.

David DiMartino, spokesman for Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, dismissed the letter as “an attention grab.”

“The fact that the media has it before the six senators speaks volumes,” DiMartino said Saturday.

Dobson’s letter is being sent to 1.2 million members of Focus on the Family Action, an arm of his organization established last year to allow public advocacy that would otherwise threaten the parent group’s tax-exempt status, according to Paul Hetrick, a vice president of the parent organization.

The letter acknowledges conservative gains in the November election but letter points out that Republicans, who will hold 55 seats in the Senate, are still short of the 60-vote majority required to cut off a filibuster.

Focus on the Family has a mailing list of 2.5 million, 13 radio and television programs in more than 115 countries, and offices around the world.