WASHINGTON – Prominent televangelist Pat Robertson has received mixed reaction from conservatives for his endorsement of presidential contender Rudy Giuliani.
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, lambasted Robertson Wednesday for his support of the former New York mayor who is blacklisted by many conservatives for his pro abortion and gay rights stance.
"Pat Robertson is leading pro-family voters astray by abandoning moral standards for government," he said .
Thomasson accused Robertson of "casting a blind eye" to Giuliani's "big-time advocacy" of the homosexual, transsexual, bisexual agenda.
"This shocking news is a 180-degree turn by the founder of the Christian Coalition," said the pro-life leader.
Meanwhile, conservative commentator Ann Coulter was more moderate in her response, noting that Robertson's endorsement was not too shocking because he "appears to be more conservative than he is".
Coulter, during an interview with Fox News, said Robertson is moderate to liberal on many issues and his endorsement does not truly represent a political conservative endorsement such as one from the late Rev. Jerry Falwell or Dr. James Dobson.
During his endorsement announcement, Robertson had praised Giuliani for being tough on crime, for his ability to handle the war on terror, and for his "spirit of bipartisanship."
``It is my pleasure to announce my support for America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans,'' Robertson said in a statement issued by the Giuliani campaign, according to The Associated Press.
Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, did not mention his differences with Giuliani on social conservative issues in his statement.
Other Republican candidates have also recently garnered important conservative endorsements. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney gained two Christian conservative leaders' endorsement in South Carolina recently while Ariz. Sen. John McCain received the endorsement of Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who dropped out of the presidential race last month.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who gained ground after Brownback's departure, has picked up endorsements of two influential leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
On Sunday former SBC president Jack Graham introduced the former Arkansas governor to about 7,000 worshippers at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Meanwhile, Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., told the Raleigh News & Observer that he is supporting Huckabee not because he is a minister, but because of his stands on abortion, the family and keeping the United States strong.
Huckabee, named by Time Magazine as one of the five best governors in America in 2005, won the majority (51.26 percent) of onsite votes in a straw poll at the conservative Values Voter Summit last month in Washington. Following Huckabee was Romney with 10.40 percent of the onsite votes and former senator Fred Thompson with 8.09 percent.