Long story short 

Ryan Dobson thinks of himself as a music guy. In fact, that was half the reason he agreed to sit down with me for an interview after blowing off requests from other media in town.

When I arrive at his office — in a northern Colorado Springs neighborhood situated between Ute Valley Park and the Flying W Ranch — Dobson has a DVD of the Band's The Last Waltz playing. And during the course of our interview, he'll enthusiastically bring up his favorite musicians, including Wyclef Jean, whose Haitian charity Dobson promoted on his radio show.

"Have you heard him sing 'If I Were President'?" asks Dobson, wide-eyed, referring to a song in which the former Fugee sings about getting "elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday, buried on Sunday, then go back to work on Monday."

Resurrection theme notwithstanding, this is not the kind of conversation you'd expect to have with James Dobson. (Not that we were given that option.)

The elder Dobson steps down from Focus on the Family this week, leaving behind the conservative Christian group he founded three decades ago. Now, father and son are starting a new radio program and advocacy group, which Ryan talks about in this week's cover story.

So is this really a kinder, gentler Dobson? Decide for yourself here.


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