Carol Lester, a teacher from President Bill Clinton's hometown
of Hope, Ark., and a Christian Coalition delegate, says it's time
Bob Dole challenged Clinton on issues like abortion, character and
Pat Robertson, who founded the Christian Coalition, told
delegates Saturday at the coalition's Road to Victory conference
that it would take "a miracle from Almighty God" for Dole to win
the presidency - and that could happen only if he emphasized moral
issues from now until the election.
Later Saturday, Robertson made a surprise introduction of Dole,
who changed his schedule to attend.
John Parrott Jr., a manufacturer's representative from
Bloomington, Ill., heads the state's chapter of the Christian
Coalition. He says Dole's push for tax cuts is great so far as it
goes, but, that to win, he needs to speak out forcefully in
opposition to abortion and in favor of the coalition's "pro-family"
"Ronald Reagan told the American people exactly where he stood,
and he never wavered," Parrott said. "Bob Dole needs to get that
message out, too."
Lester, Robertson and Parrott were among the 3,500 activists in
Washington this weekend for the Road to Victory conference, at a
moment when public opinion surveys suggest that the electoral road
map is anything but.
Robertson, in an address to the convention early Saturday,
said, "It's not the economy, stupid, it's morality, stupid, and
that's where the issue's going to be decided in this campaign."
"It's the economy, stupid," was a guiding slogan in Clinton's
campaign four years ago.
Robertson recalled the 1988 election, when he endorsed Vice
President George Bush. Bush embraced many themes popular with
religious conservatives during his successful campaign for the
White House. Robertson said Bush lost the votes of Jews, blacks and
Hispanics, but polled 81 percent support among evangelicals.
"It meant you could win with just evangelicals," Robertson
said. "I want to say this as clearly as I can: This campaign for
the presidency is far behind. Twenty-three points is about as
insurmountable an obstacle as I can think of. In my personal
opinion, there's got to be a miracle from Almighty God to pull it
out, and that could happen."
Dole in his address to the coalition said, "I would ask you for
your full and complete support every day . . . between now and Nov.
5 . . . I can't tell you how much your support and encouragement
and prayers mean to all of us."
The Christian Coalition itself is under fire, the target of a
suit filed last July by the Federal Elections Commission. The suit
alleges that the group's distribution of voters' guides through
churches nationwide amounts to illegal contributions to Republican