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Election 2000

Attack calls

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2000

Two Republican candidates for president, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain, complained about recorded telephone messages received by Michigan voters that attack their character. Each candidate denied responsibility for the calls.

A recorded message from religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, a Bush supporter, said: "Protect unborn babies and restore religious freedom once again in America. (Tuesday's) Republican primary may determine whether our dream becomes reality, or whether the Republican Party will nominate a man who wants to take First Amendment freedoms from citizens groups while he gives unrestricted power to labor unions. A man who chose as his national campaign chairman a vicious bigot who wrote that conservative Christians in politics are anti-abortion zealots, homophobes and would-be censors. John McCain refused to repudiate these words. You may hold the future of America in your hands. With all the sincerity that I can muster, I urge you to go to the polls . . . . This is Pat Robertson, thank you and God bless you."

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An unidentified caller said: "This is a Catholic Voter Alert. Gov. George Bush has campaigned against Sen. John McCain by seeking the support of Southern fundamentalists who have expressed anti-Catholic views. Several weeks ago, Gov. Bush spoke at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Bob Jones has made strong anti-Catholic statements, including calling the pope the anti-Christ, the Catholic Church a satanic cult. John McCain, a pro-life senator, has strongly criticized this anti-Catholic bigotry . . . Gov. Bush has stayed silent while seeking the support of Bob Jones University. Because of this, one Catholic pro-life congressman has switched his support from Bush to McCain, and many Michigan Catholics support John McCain for president."

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