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Rev. Pat Robertson Explains Why He's Throwing His Support Behind Rudy Giuliani

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 14, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." Get right to our top story tonight. Last week Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president. He joins us now in a "Hannity & Colmes" exclusive.

Reverend, welcome back to our show. It has been a while, good to have you back.

REV. PAT ROBERTSON: Thanks, Alan. It has. Good to see you.

COLMES: Let me just establish here something that — is it your view that Christian belief espouses that life begins at conception, that life in the womb is innocent and that we have a duty to protect the innocent? Is that part of your Christian belief?

ROBERTSON: Yes.

COLMES: And do you believe that you have a duty to empower — not to empower people who disagree with those beliefs?

ROBERTSON: Well, there are various ways to protect life, Alan, and I think the most important one is to see that the appropriate judges are in the Supreme Court and in the circuit courts and the district courts. And unless we fix the courts, then all the rest of it is just rhetoric.

And I think Rudy Giuliani has assured the American people that he's going to appoint justices in the likeness of Scalia and John Roberts, et cetera. And he has assured people that, he assured me and others, and I believe him.

COLMES: Are you saying that's more important to you than empowering somebody who does not believe that life begins at conception or that life in the womb is truly innocent and that it's the Christian duty to protect the innocent?

ROBERTSON: It really doesn't matter what your belief is if the courts nullify what you do. Whether you're a president or a governor or a state legislator, if it has been ruled a constitutional right to abort a child, then the legislators are powerless.

And so I'm interested in judges. I think in the last election, in my opinion, the three most important issues were judges, judges, and judges. And I think it's still that way in terms of abortion.

COLMES: By the way, as mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani appointed 75 judges to three different courts, the ones the New York Mayor gets the right to appoint, and Democrats outnumbered Republicans eight-to-one.

In fact, one of the judges he appointed was head of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. Why would you believe, based on his record of mayor of New York and who he appoint, that he would do anything different as president of the United States?

ROBERTSON: Well, I think he's telling the truth. I mean, you could say, well, he's a liar, but he has assured the American people who his standards are. And he picked a man as one of his chief advisers who was solicitor general of the United States, and he's a staunch conservative, and I think he'll help him in the selection of the judges. But I'm just taking him at his word as to what he's going to do as president.

COLMES: He was asked by Robert Novak on "Evans & Novak" a number of years ago if he could personally — in fact, you were asked, I should say, if you could personally vote for a Republican presidential ticket where either candidate was pro-choice, and you said you were not sure that you could.

In 1999 Robert Novak asked you a similar question, and you said, I think to pick somebody who is openly pro-choice would be an unwise move. So you've changed your view of that.

ROBERTSON: I just believe that your priorities shift somewhat. The priority of this election in my opinion is defense against Islamic terrorism. I think if the bad guys set off a nuke in one of our major cities, I think it's going to overshadow everything else, and I'm concerned about protecting the American people.

COLMES: You know, in 1993 the World Trade Center was attacked, it was attacked again in 2001, on Rudy Giuliani's watch. Some people have been critical about him, where he put his command center and how he conducted himself. Firefighters not supporting him.

What makes you think that he would be the right person? According to his critics he would not be. What makes you think he would be to deal with the issues you just mentioned?

ROBERTSON: Well, Alan, I was up in New York a couple of weeks ago, and I went through those great canyons, and I thought, this is a tough city. It was considered ungovernable for a while.

And Giuliani with a Democrat majority sort of tamed that great big city and brought crime down, brought taxes down, brought regulations down. And I think it's that kind of experience which would make him a good president.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Reverend Robertson, Sean Hannity here. Always good to see you.

ROBERTSON: Hey, Sean.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us. I want to point out two things just for clarification points here. On the judges that Rudy did appoint, he did have an advisory council, and this is a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly eight-to-one, and so he chose from a limited number of those. And the command center at the Trade Center, that was also where the federal government chose to put the command center.

My first question to you is, are you coming under fire for your support of Mayor Giuliani?

ROBERTSON: Actually, Sean, I've gotten all kinds of comments that are favorable from all over the country. Of course, I'm sure that those of us that are conservatives aren't always thrilled when The New York Times says nice things about us, but nevertheless it was the front page above the fold and relatively complimentary.

But across the country I think Republicans are saying this is the man we'd like to see lead. Now, as I said in my statement, I looked at a number of very able people. We're not without leadership in the Republican Party, and it was a tough choice to say well, this is the one I think that I would throw my support to now.

But if somebody else were to be the nominee, I'd support them too.

HANNITY: I think the issue for those of us that are pro-life, and I consider myself pro-life, I have been my entire life, those of us, if we look at this issue from a practical standpoint, the biggest area where a president can have an impact on the issue of abortion is in the type of justices that they will appoint to the court and the strict constructionists.

He has mentioned the type of justices he would look for, Thomas, Scalia, Alito, and Roberts. So ostensibly he's saying on that big issue that that's where I would be.

ROBERTSON: Well, that's what made me so comfortable. I mean, he has assured the American people in public statements. He has assured others in private, and unless you say the man's just a bald-faced liar, which I don't believe, I think he's honest about this.

He was speaking about conservative — after all, he served in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department, and Reagan was not exactly a flaming liberal. And I think Rudy basically is a conservative, he's conservative from a fiscal standpoint, I think he's conservative on many of these issues that people get so upset about.

HANNITY: Well, it is interesting, because I lived through the changes in New York where the porn shops were removed because of his leadership, the prostitutes, the drug dealers were moved out, the homicide rate dropped dramatically because he took a tough-on-crime issue, all family issues here.

What do you say to — I spent a lot of time on the phone with a mutual friend of ours, Dr. James Dobson, and he has a harder time with Rudy Giuliani because of the specific issue, and the definition of marriage issue.

What do you say to Dr. Dobson or maybe some other evangelical leaders that might have some disagreement with you?

ROBERTSON: Well, I think in terms of marriage, again, he has said he does not favor homosexual marriage, he feels a marriage is the union between a man and a woman, which is very important.

Again, when you represent a predominantly Democrat, liberal constituency, it's very difficult to get all of your points of view across. And I think Rudy came up against that, but he is, in his heart, in my opinion, a conservative.

HANNITY: All right. Pat, stay right there. We'll come back, more with the Reverend Pat Robertson on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And we continue now our exclusive interview with the Reverend Pat Robertson.

You know, Reverend Robertson, I'm going to support the Republican candidate if it's Rudy, if it's Romney, if it's Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Senator McCain. As I listen to all these candidates, they're going to cut taxes, free market solutions to health care, control our borders, stronger in the war on terror than Hillary Clinton here.

How important is it that the Republicans stay united at the end of the day, go through this primary process, but the winner gets supported?

ROBERTSON: Sean, I think it's absolutely crucial. One of the things that I did when I was more active in Republican politics was to bring disparate groups together, and as a result we had a winning coalition that took control of the United States Congress and the White House, and it was a very successful effort.

I think the party has been in disarray because of extreme spending, wasteful spending, people are disillusioned, conservatives are disillusioned. But I believe in this next election, it's crisis time.

HANNITY: And I've got to tell you, in terms of — as somebody who has had his radio broadcast now in New York for 13 years and "Hannity & Colmes" from New York for 12 years now.

COLMES: Eleven, but who's counting?

HANNITY: Eleven, who is counting?

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: But in all seriousness here, this city was transformed, and it does frustrate me. If on the defining issue of abortion, which is important to me, if somebody cut taxes 23 times, got 650,000 people off welfare, reduced the murder rate, crime, and did all of these conservative things, getting rid of the porn shops and the drug dealers and the hookers, that's conservative to me, and as I think Governor Romney is a conservative, as I think Fred Thompson is a conservative.

ROBERTSON: Well, Sean, I really believe the issue — the judges have taken such a major role in our life. They have usurped the function of the legislature in many points, and I do believe that to get guys like Roberts and Alito and Antonin Scalia, to have a majority of judges who think like that, it will make an enormous difference, not just on abortion, but other issues a well.

HANNITY: And what bothers me is if somebody — if every Republican is promising a Scalia and Alito, including Rudy Giuliani, and if Hillary is the president of the United States, we know we get Ruth Bader Ginsberg or worse, don't we?

ROBERTSON: Exactly. I mean, look who they put in as attorney general, Janet Reno, et cetera. And I mean, that is exactly — I mean, Reno was her candidate. And I think it's hard to say how liberal they'll be. But it will be shocking.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: Hey, Reverend.

HANNITY: Well, I disagree with that.

COLMES: We disagree with that. You know, you want to talk about ending welfare as we know it, you want to talk about increasing employment and reducing debt, increasing the surplus of this country, you know, relative peace, that sounds like a Clinton presidency to me. You're talking about those conservative values. All those things happened when.

HANNITY: Oh good grief.

COLMES: . Bill Clinton was president of the United States, not somebody you classify as a conservative.

ROBERTSON: There were a few undercurrents that I think weren't too tasteful, but nevertheless.

COLMES: Crime was down, economy was booming, things were going well in this country. The very items that you list and say well, this is what we'd like to happen in the United States. Why should we reward again a party that has given us increased debt, more war, more problems, has not fought the war on terror in a way that has reduced terror globally? Why reward that party?

ROBERTSON: Well, I don't know if it's a question of rewarding the party, it's a question of — we'll have two candidates. Now I'm not sure Hillary Clinton is going to wind up being the candidate of the Democratic Party. Obama is coming on pretty strong, but I don't know, her own people are beginning to beat her up in these debates.

So you never can tell whether she'll be so wounded going into the general election, she can't handle it. But nevertheless, I think when you look at that massive health care plan that she proposed, that was just an absolute disaster, and to have a health system like Canada's or Great Britain would be a terrible thing for this country.

COLMES: Well, one last quick thing, we have a moment left, is winning and supporting a — someone you believe can win more important than standing on principles — bedrock principles that you've proclaimed to be your truth for years and years?

ROBERTSON: I'm not Don Quixote, I think to go mindlessly tilting at windmills when you can't possibly win is not wise. I think it's important to be able to win, but it's not the main consideration.

It's a question of certain principles, and as Sean pointed out so very well, when Giuliani was the mayor, for example, the rate of adoption went up dramatically and abortion went down without any proclamation of pro-life / pro-choice. So I mean, I think this man is a true conservative, and I think he's going to lead this country as a conservative, and he's a strong leader. I think that's more important than anything right now.

COLMES: It went down, and so did teenage pregnancies when Clinton was president. But listen, we appreciate having you back on our show, Reverend Robertson.

ROBERTSON: Hey, it was good to see you guys again. Thank you.

COLMES: Appreciate seeing you. Thank you very, very much.

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