Two of Marion G. (Pat) Robertson's key Michigan aides surprised supporters and opponents by expressing qualms about his presidential candidacy in a recent interview in The Detroit News.
Michigan was the site of Robertson's first big organizational triumph last August when his Freedom Council staff, led by David Walters, outhustled Vice President Bush's organization to take about half the state's 9,000 precinct delegates.
Walters, head of the Michigan Committee for Freedom, which is chartered as a civic organization but which oversees Robertson's campaign in the state, said of his candidate, "The question is, should someone who has been a major religious leader become a candidate? In politics, any man of principle is tempted to compromise every day."
Harry Veryser, a long-time conservative activist who has worked the past nine months to educate new Robertson political supporters, echoed similar doubts about a Robertson candidacy: "The danger of having a religious leader get involved in politics is it may politicize his religious message."
Walters added, "Pat wants to be a mainstream candidate. He wants to be accepted by the voters and the Republican Party. He won't be and he can't be. He has a very high negative." But Walters said that if Robertson could win the nomination he could be elected because "Pat has enormous appeal across the board."