Most bizarre endorsement of the race

By Mark Follman
Published October 20, 2004 2:16PM (EDT)

And the award goes to U.S. Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson. Speaking to Paula Zahn on CNN Tuesday night, Robertson lavished President Bush with some gospel approval, saying he believes Bush will win the election with divine support. "Even if he stumbles and messes up -- and he's had his share of stumbles and gaffes -- I just think God's blessing is on him," Robertson said.

Then the televangelist talked a fair bit about Bush stumbling and messing up -- describing a president beholden to a kind of faith so myopic that it might leave even Ron Suskind shaking his head in disbelief. From CNN:

"[Robertson] told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, 'We're not going to have any casualties.'

"Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 invasion. He described Bush in the meeting as 'the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life.'

"'You remember Mark Twain said, "He looks like a contented Christian with four aces." I mean he was just sitting there like, "I'm on top of the world,"' Robertson said on the CNN show, Paula Zahn Now.

"'And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' Robertson said the president then told him, 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.'"

According to CNN, Robertson, who sought the Republican presidential nomination himself in 1988, also told Zahn that he wished Bush would admit to the mistakes made under his administration. (If he'd read Suskind's Times piece, he'd know to ask for some divine intervention on that one, too.)

"'I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy,' Robertson said. 'I warned him about casualties.' Asked why Bush has refused to admit to mistakes on Iraq, Robertson said, 'I don't know this politics game. You know, you can never say you were wrong because the opposition grabs onto it: See, he admitted he screwed up.'"

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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