Politico.com called Pat Robertson endorsement of Rudy Giuliani a “blessing” and said that it gives Giuliani “momentum.” Similarly, the Politico's Mike Allen wrote that, with Robertson's announcement, Giuliani “has one of the most resonant imprimaturs with Christian voters.” However, in claiming that Robertson's endorsement “gives Rudy Giuliani momentum” -- a questionable claim, given that the endorsement had been announced just that morning -- the Politico ignored Robertson's history of controversial statements.
On the morning of November 7, Politico.com released a “Breaking News” email alert announcing that a "[s]urprise blessing from" Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, who also founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, on which he hosts The 700 Club, “gives [Republican presidential candidate] Rudy Giuliani momentum.” The email linked to a November 7 Politico article by chief political correspondent Mike Allen, who wrote that Robertson “plans to endorse former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani today,” and that, with Robertson's announcement, Giuliani “has one of the most resonant imprimaturs with Christian voters.” In a second November 7 article, Allen and senior political writer Jonathan Martin wrote: “With such a bold-faced name as Robertson now on his side, Giuliani has a ready shield with which to fend off attacks that he will destroy the conservative coalition.” Allen and Martin continued: “And even though he's not the power he once was, hundreds if not thousands of GOP political activists across the country got their start with Robertson's 1988 presidential campaign and retain fond memories for those days and admiration for their first candidate.” However, in claiming that Robertson's endorsement “gives Rudy Giuliani momentum” -- a questionable claim, given that the endorsement had been announced just that morning -- Allen, Martin, and Politico.com ignored Robertson's history of controversial statements, including his claim that God told him that He would “remove judges from the Supreme Court quickly” ; his call for the assassination of a foreign head of state; and his endorsement of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's assertion that “the abortionists,” “the feminists,” and the American Civil Liberties Union “helped this [the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks] happen.”
From Allen's November 7 Politico article:
Pat Robertson, one of the nation's most influential Christian leaders, plans to endorse former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani today, the Politico has learned.
Giuliani has struggled to win support of social conservatives because of his moderate views on abortion and gay rights. But now he has one of the most resonant imprimaturs with Christian voters.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), meanwhile, plans to announce his surprise endorsement of former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president on Wednesday, a campaign official told Politico.
The endorsement is to be announced in Dubuque, Iowa.
Robertson has a history of making controversial remarks, many of which have been documented by Media Matters for America:
- In 1998, Robertson issued a warning to Orlando, Florida, after city officials voted to fly rainbow flags from city lampposts during the annual Gay Days event at Disney World. Robertson stated: “I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. ... [A] condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”
- During a September 13, 2001, appearance on The 700 Club, Falwell reportedly said of the 9-11 attacks: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the A.C.L.U., People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' '' Robertson, as reported by The New York Times, replied: ''Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government.'' Robertson later called Falwell's comments "[t]otally inappropriate."
- According to CNN, later on that September 13, 2001, program, Robertson offered the following prayer: “We have sinned against Almighty God, at the highest level of our government, we've stuck our finger in your eye ... The Supreme Court has insulted you over and over again, Lord. They've taken your Bible away from the schools. They've forbidden little children to pray. They've taken the knowledge of God as best they can, and organizations have come into court to take the knowledge of God out of the public square of America.”
- On the January 3, 2005, edition of The 700 Club, Robertson claimed that God told him: “I will remove judges from the Supreme Court quickly, and their successors will refuse to sanction the attacks on religious faith.” Two months later, Robertson again predicted that “before the end of this year there will be another vacancy” on the Supreme Court.
- On the August 22, 2005, 700 Club, Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying: “You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. ... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.” Robertson later claimed, falsely, that he “didn't say 'assassinate,' ” and then apologized, claiming he “spoke in frustration.” He most recently addressed the issue on June 25, 2007, stating that “more and more people are saying to me, 'I think you were right.' ”
- On the September 12, 2005, 700 Club, Robertson linked legalized abortion to Hurricane Katrina, which had made landfall just two weeks earlier, saying: “But have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected in some way?”
- On the January 5, 2006, 700 Club, Robertson suggested that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was the result of Sharon's policy, which he claimed was “dividing God's land.”