Pat Robertson received a hero's welcome Saturday from Washington State Republicans, as the party now dominated by the television evangelist's followers prepared to adopt a rightist platform including support for South Africa's government.
"You have won a great victory in Washington and I am proud of you," Robertson said to his supporters, who swept the state's precinct caucuses in March.His campaign may be over for now, "but ideals and principles never lose," Robertson said. "I have no intention of quitting. We're going to keep coming back."
Robertson's loyal army of supporters, which plans to give the television evangelist his largest block of delegates to the national GOP convention, went wild as he addressed the convention.
Robertson told his backers they must shift their loyalties to the party's certain nominee, George Bush, and help elect all Republican candidates this fall. He called it part of a long-term strategy of converting America to conservatism.
The convention chose 24 Robertson delegates to the national convention in New Orleans next month at congressional district caucuses Friday night, and were expected to add about 14 at-large delegates later.
Robertson told a news conference he'll stump the country for Bush, particularly in the states where the television evangelist did best. He termed himself "pleased with the conservative principles the vice president is enunciating," and said Bush should pick Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas for his rinning mate.
"Bob Dole would be my choice," he said.
In addition to hearing Robertson, the convention was expected to adopt a conservative platform, including support for South Africa.
The proposed plank on South Africa read: "We continue to support the South African government in its efforts to eliminate apartheid and oppose economic sanctions."
The platform, less than five pages long, reads like a compendium of conservative thought. It is against gay rights, a state income tax, abortion, the United Nations, and school health clinics, and for the deployment of space-based weapons, Contra aid, prayer in the schools and more nuclear development.