May 19, 2005

Pat Robertson Sets the Record Straight on Stephanopoulos Interview

Today on The 700 Club Pat Robertson set the record straight regarding his comments and answers on ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Here is an abridged transcript of Robertson’s remarks.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 19, 2005 -- I want to extend my personal sympathy to Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow because of the tragic murder of her husband and mother. The murderer was a litigant in a malpractice suit that the judge had ruled against. This horrible crime certainly had nothing to do with anything said by any member of Congress. And since it happened at the end of February, it certainly had nothing to do with what I said on ABC’s This Week program on May 1st.

Nevertheless, this woman, who is a graduate of Wheaton College and a mother of five children, has become the “poster child” for the current attack on judicial nominees, like Priscilla Owen.

The comments Judge Lefkow made about me received considerable coverage in the news media, but they were a mischaracterization of something I said on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Liberal groups and those on the ultra Left, like, lifted my words out of context and made it sound like I was saying that “judges were terrorists.” That’s what Judge Lefkow was referring to. But that’s not what I meant, and we tried to clarify that by sending the transcript to Judge Lefkow’s press office before her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

I want you to understand precisely what I said in that interview on ABC’s This Week.

George Stephanopoulos said, “You said that the out-of-control judiciary—and this was in your last book Courting Disaster—is the most serious threat America has faced in nearly 400 years of history.” Then he asked, “More serious than al Qaeda, more serious than Nazi Germany and Japan, more serious than the Civil War?”

I answered him, “George, I really believe that. I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together. There is an assault on marriage. There's an assault on human sexuality. And as Judge Scalia said, they've taken sides in the culture war; and on top of that, if we have a democracy, the democratic processes should be that we can elect representatives who will share our point of view and vote those things into law.”

Not satisfied to hear what I just said, Stephanopoulos essentially repeated his question: “But, sir, let me just stop you there. How can you say that these judges are a more serious threat than Islamic terrorists who slammed into the World [Trade] Center?”

Actually, I never said that. Those were George Stephanopoulos’ words, not mine. Nevertheless, I was trying to be a gracious guest on his program and I answered his question. Here’s exactly what I said:“It depends on how you look at culture.” Now look at this next sentence carefully: “If you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.”

What I was clearly saying was that over the course of a hundred years, the long-range impact of court decisions can be worse than our current battle against terrorists. I also pointed out that we’re winning the war on terror.

“I think we’re going to control al Qaeda. I think we're going to get Osama bin Laden. We won in Afghanistan. We won in Iraq, and we can contain that. But if there's erosion at home—you know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of an oligarchy, and if we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of an oligarchy, we've made a terrible mistake.”

I never said that judges were terrorists. I never compared them to terrorists. Those were George Stephanopoulos’ words, not mine.

I am appalled at the liberal media, left-wing groups like and People for the American Way, and others who distort my words and think I’m not going to respond. And unfortunately this judge—who suffered such tremendous grief—picked up a report which was a blatant distortion of my words. And she used that report in her testimony before a Senate committee, which in turn was covered by CBS, ABC, and other news broadcasts. In the future, I hope the news media will be more careful to report my comments in their proper context.