From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
GREEN, Ohio -- Palin may be overstating her running mate's positions on several key social policy issues, in an effort to shore up support from Christian conservatives. She told a prominent religious conservative Monday that McCain was committed to the positions in the Republican National Committee's platform that are more conservative than his previously stated views.
Palin told Dr. James Dobson in a radio interview, which aired today, that she believes McCain -- if elected -- will implement the Republican Party platform, which includes positions stem cells, abortion and gay marriage that are more conservative than previous positions McCain has taken.
"I do, from the bottom of my heart," she told Dobson. "I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details too, about the different planks and what they represent."
Dobson began the conversation by calling the platform the "strongest pro-life, pro-family document to come out of a political party." More conservative than in previous elections, the Republican platform this year advocates for a constitutional amendments to ban abortion and define marriage as between a man and a woman, as well as ban on embryonic stem cell research.
But McCain doesn't share his platform's views on these controversial issues. While he opposes abortion rights, McCain does not favor a constitutional amendment to ban it. He also opposes the gay marriage ban. On stem cells, McCain actually supports relaxing federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, implemented by President Bush.
Palin -- viewed as more conservative than McCain -- has advocated for all of the social policy positions in the platform, and received praise from Dobson. And while the campaign acknowledges disagreements between the candidates -- they say that "mavericks" don't always agree -- Palin may have unwittingly put McCain on her side of those divisive issues.
Asked whether Palin misspoke or whether McCain was changing his position on these social issues, Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt replied, "John McCain and Gov. Palin both strongly support the fundamental principles of the GOP platform."