Richard Land was a guest on last Thursday’s edition of “Hardball With Chris Matthews” where he discussed whether “Christian conservatives [are] comfortable with the leading Republican presidential candidates.” Land has managed to position himself as some sort of seemingly neutral observer of the current GOP primary process and, as such, repeatedly stated that he does not endorse candidates during his appearance on “Hardball.”
Of course, just because he won’t endorse a specific candidate doesn’t mean he won’t “negatively endorse” other candidates:
LAND: I don‘t think I could sell him to most of them and I wouldn‘t try. I would say vote your values and your beliefs and convictions and have to leave it to them to connect the dots. But I have said publicly, I don‘t endorse candidates, but I‘m negatively endorsing. I could not vote for Giuliani.
Thompson was the keynote speaker at a dinner organized by the Council for National Policy, a group of many of the nation’s most influential conservative leaders.
Most of them have large followings in the groups they lead, and many have expressed dissatisfaction with the Republican Party’s presidential contenders.
Richard Land introduced Thompson at the event. As president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Land plays a starring role in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
Land has already negatively endorsed both Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich while remaining circumspect about candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney, but he hasn’t even bothered to try and hide his excitement about Thompson.
Considering that Thompson’s appearance before the Council for National Policy was widely seen as key test as he lays the groundwork for officially announcing his intention to run – something he’ll reportedly do this summer – it is beginning to look as if Land’s “I don‘t endorse candidates” claim is soon going to be put to the test.