Ripped from the Hot Air headlines. So much for the rumors in July that Fred was going to be evangelicals’ fair-haired boy. You know, in my many years of using e-mail, I don’t think I’ve ever once sat down, set out my thoughts on a political candidate, and then fired it off to multiple recipients unsolicited with the greeting, “Dear friends.” Just not something private citizens acting in their capacity as individuals and not on behalf of any organization are wont to do.

But I guess some citizens are different.

In a private e-mail obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Dobson accuses the former Tennessee senator and actor of being weak on the campaign trail and wrong on issues dear to social conservatives.

“Isn’t Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won’t talk at all about what he believes, and can’t speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?” Dobson wrote.

“He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent ‘want to.’ And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!”…

Gary Schneeberger, a Focus on the Family spokesman, confirmed that Dobson wrote the e-mail. Schneeberger declined to comment further, saying it would be inappropriate because Dobson’s comments about presidential candidates are made as an individual and not as a representative of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization restricted from partisan politics.

If Dobson wanted the e-mail to be private, why on earth did his spokesman confirm that he wrote it? More quirky private-citizen behavior, I guess. But how about Fred’s bona fides as a good Christian? Did Dobson at least give him the green light on that after the … troubles earlier this year? Not so much, not so much:

In his e-mail addressed “Dear friends,” Dobson includes the text of a recent news story highlighting Thompson’s statement that while he was baptized in the Church of Christ, he does not attend church regularly and won’t speak about his faith on the stump.

U.S. News and World Report quoted Dobson earlier this year as questioning Thompson’s commitment to the Christian faith — comments Dobson contended were not put in proper context. Dobson in this week’s e-mail writes that suppositions “about the former senator’s never having professed to be a Christian are turning out to be accurate in substance.”

I knew that story would be bigger than you guys that it would. Having now ruled out Fred, Rudy, and McCain, Dobson’s left with the only major candidate who, according to a Christian friend of mine, doesn’t qualify as a Christian. Toss ’em the red meat, Mitt. They’ll come around.

Exit question: Is David Brody right? Is Rudy the big winner of what may be an evangelical free for all?