Election 2000

October 22, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On October 22, 2000, The New York Times reported that "James Robison, a television evangelist who once led stadium crusades and is now host of a Christian talk show in Dallas, said he received a phone call last Sunday from a believer who asked if they could pray together. It was Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, looking for help in preparing for the third and final presidential debate, Mr. Robison said. 'I told him, 'You're not going to know every answer to every question,' ' Mr. Robison said, so on the telephone together they prayed for God to grant Mr. Bush 'calm, confidence and the wisdom to know when to speak and when not to speak.' As he runs for president, Mr. Bush has turned for advice not just to campaign consultants and briefing books, but also to preachers and Bible passages. He has consulted ministers privately about how to deal with questions about his past drinking and rumors of drug use, and whether he is coming across as humble enough to viewers in television interviews and debates. When he was wrestling with the decision about whether to run for president, he asked groups of ministers to pray over him. When faced with doubts or challenges, Mr. Bush has often in recent years turned toward religion for guidance, confidence and comfort. That is the portrait that has emerged from interviews with friends, the evangelical pastors he has cultivated and the minister of the Methodist church he belongs to in Dallas. They regard his public references to Christ during the campaign as the sincere confessions of an enthusiastic convert, and not as mere posturing.

"They do not, however, paint him as a choirboy. In fact, they say he turned to God to cope with his own sin. Mr. Bush himself, when asked in interviews about his faith, has for years volunteered the same Bible verse about sin and hypocrisy. 'I'm not going to try to take the speck out of your eye when I've got a log in my own,' Mr. Bush said again in a telephone interview earlier this year, paraphrasing a New Testament verse from the Book of Matthew... The verse is a favorite, he said, because it reassures him that everyone is a sinner. He said he thought of his religious awakening as 'one of the defining moments in my life, but I do so understanding that I am a lowly sinner, as well.'"