Tuesday, August 23, 2005
AFP: State Dept rebukes Robertson
1 hour, 11 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States distanced itself from a call by prominent religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, right, for Washington to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
"I would say that Pat Robertson is a private citizen and that his views do not represent the policy of the United States," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
He described the televangelist's comments as "inappropriate."
"As we have said before, any allegations that we are planning to take hostile action against the Venezuelan government are completely baseless and without fact," McCormack added.
Robertson is a former presidential candidate who strongly supports USand rallied his followers to vote for Bush in the November election.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denied that thehas considered assassinating Chavez. "Our department doesn't do that type of thing," Rumsfeld said.
Chavez, who survived a short-lived coup in April 2002, has accused the United States of plotting to kill him.
David Brock, president and CEO of Media Matters for America, a self-described watchdog of conservative media, dubbed Robertson's statement "an irresponsible use of the public airwaves, as well as a call for the Bush administration to violate the executive order banning assassination.
"Responsible news outlets should think twice before providing him a platform from which to peddle his inappropriate and inaccurate claims," Brock said.
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