washingtonpost.com  > Politics > Elections > 2004 Election

Bush Predicted No Iraq Casualties, Robertson Says

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 21, 2004; Page A09

The Rev. Pat Robertson said President Bush dismissed his warning that the United States would suffer heavy casualties in Iraq and told the television evangelist just before the beginning of the war that "we're not going to have any casualties."

Robertson related the conversation during an interview with CNN late Tuesday. He said he spoke to Bush before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and urged him to prepare the nation for heavy casualties. While Bush's response was a mistake, Robertson said, God has blessed the president anyhow.

The Rev. Pat Robertson said he warned the president about the Iraq war.

2004 Campaign

President Bush Photos: Bush Wins
President Bush claims victory after John F. Kerry concedes the 2004 presidential election.
Bush's Speech: Video | Transcript
Kerry's Speech: Video | Transcript
Video: 2004 Election Rewind

___ Election Results ___

Exit Polls by State:


Results by Zip Code:

Results by State:


50 State Election Roundup
Comparison of 2004 and 2000
Amendments Defining Marriage

___ Electee Profiles ___

The New House
Freshman Senators
New Governors

 U.S. President
Updated 2:09 AM ET Precincts:0%
 CandidateVotes % 
  Bush * (R)  60,693,28151% 
  Kerry (D)  57,355,97848% 
  Other  1,107,3931% 
Full ResultsSourceAP

Friday's Question:
It was not until the early 20th century that the Senate enacted rules allowing members to end filibusters and unlimited debate. How many votes were required to invoke cloture when the Senate first adopted the rule in 1917?

___ Postwar Iraq ___

_____ Request for Photos_____

Duty In Iraq
We want to give you the opportunity to show firsthand what it is like to live and work in Iraq.

_____ Latest News _____
More Coverage
_____ U.S. Military Deaths _____

Faces of the Fallen
Portraits of U.S. service members who have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war.

Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign pounced on the remarks yesterday.

"We believe President Bush should get the benefit of the doubt here, but he needs to come forward and answer a very simple question," Kerry adviser Mike McCurry said in a statement. "Is Pat Robertson telling the truth when he said you didn't think there'd be any casualties, or is Pat Robertson lying?"

White House political adviser Karl Rove told reporters that Bush never said he did not expect casualties. "I was right there," Rove said of the president's conversation with Robertson.

In a statement yesterday, Robertson did not back away from his comments about Bush and said, "I emphatically stated that I believe 'the blessing of heaven is upon him,' and I am persuaded that he will win this election and prevail on the war against terror."

Robertson, who made a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 1988, has repeatedly suggested on his "700 Club" cable television show that he believes God favors Bush's reelection. But he denied in Tuesday's interview with CNN's Paula Zahn that he has tried to instruct Christians on how to vote.

"I just said, I think God's blessing him, and I think it's one of those things that, even if he stumbles and messes up -- and he's had his share of goofs and gaffes -- I just think God's blessing is on him. And you remember, I think the Chinese used to say, you know, it's the blessing of heaven on the emperor. And I think the blessing of heaven is on Bush. It's just the way it is," Robertson said.

Asked about Bush's mistakes, the evangelist recalled: "I met with him down in Nashville before the Gulf war started. And he was the most self-assured man I ever met in my life." Borrowing a line from Mark Twain, Robertson said Bush looked "like a contented Christian with four aces."

"He was just sitting there, like, I'm on top of the world, 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 better prepare the American people for casualties,' " Robertson said.

"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties," Robertson quoted Bush as saying. " 'Well,' I said, 'it's the way it's going to be. . . . The Lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy.' "

© 2004 The Washington Post Company