The Christian talk show host contemplates a ‘lateral move.’

The process of electing a U.S. President makes it certain that few individuals will ever attempt a run for the Oval Office. Those who do, need a sure-fire mix of fund-raising genius, proven administrative ability, a clear grasp of global issues, and a compelling personality suited to the electronic media.

Some say that Pat Robertson, host of television’s “700 Club” talk show, has all these and more. Consequently, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) says he has been asked to consider running for President in 1988. He says he is praying about the decision and seeking counsel from trusted Christian friends.

Meanwhile, the machinery of Robertson’s Virginia Beach, Virginia, empire appears to be primed to propel Robertson into national public life. It is likely that he will not decide for another year or more. Nonetheless, speculation about his candidacy is energizing the Republican party’s right wing and fueling fears of a split between social-issue conservatives and the party’s moderates.


The idea of a Robertson candidacy first appeared in a Saturday Evening Post article (March 1985), complete with a lengthy “agenda for public action” proposed by Robertson. Since then, articles in the Wall Street Journal, Conservative Digest, Washington Times, and elsewhere have reinforced the possibility of Robertson as a White House contender. He is the son of a former U.S. senator, A. Willis Robertson, Democrat, of Virginia. Pat Robertson, asked frequently why he does not run for the Senate himself, jokes that he would consider that office a demotion. “But the presidency would be a lateral move,” he has said in interviews as long ago as 1979.

Robertson resists ...

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