Video: Pat Robertson interview, part 1

CNBC
updated 6/30/2006 5:55:29 PM ET 2006-06-30T21:55:29

MICHAEL EISNER:
I am really excited to have you on the program for a lot of reasons. One, I’ve --oh, in the last four or five years and spent some time with you because the Walt Disney Company bought the Family Channel, and I've gotten to know you. And I've-- I've learned about you. And-- it's fascinating because you're an entrepreneur.

PAT ROBERTSON:
That's right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
That's the way I look at it. And—

PAT ROBERTSON:
That's right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
You-- unlike some of my guests-- you-- you're-- you're not a rags-to-riches success. You're a educated-- strong family success-success. Phi Beta Kappa-- undergraduate. Father, senator and congressman. Yale Law School. This is not the background that you generally think about that a person would be a minister until you then went to New York Theological—

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
--School. So did you-- did you even think for a minute when you were working those summers and a young man out on the prowl like most young men that-- I mean that pejoratively. (LAUGHTER) But-- but dating and being inquisitive and having a senator father, did you ever think that you would be going into the-- and creating the world's biggest ministry?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Never.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Occur to you?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Never in my wildest dreams, Michael, that-- never did I think that I-- I thought that-- I'd be a lawyer. My father was a lawyer. And then there were times I thought-- I grew up in politics. I laugh at-- you know, he went to Congress when I was two years old. I said the first word I learned was "mama," then "daddy," then "constituency." (LAUGHTER)(OVERTALK)

PAT ROBERTSON:
--what the constituents had to say. So I-- I grew up in a political environment, you know? Statecraft and my father in Washington-- drafting legislation. And I-- I thought I'd probably-- wind up in politics or in law. But I never, never thought of the ministry nor did-- of course, television when I was growing up, there was no television. So I didn't know anything about it.

MICHAEL EISNER:
All right. So you grow up in this, I would say, privileged environment. You-- I mean, your father's a senator and your mother's committed. And you go to these great schools. And all of a sudden you wake up and you say-- as my father did-- he didn't quite go the direction you went, "I don't wanna be a lawyer. This is not for me." So then you have a choice between I guess business, politics, or the ministry. So why did you pick the ministry?

PAT ROBERTSON:
I went to work for WR Grace down in New York or down in Wall Street. And-- later in the South American manufacturing. And I thought I can make my-- my fortune, and it'll be a good deal. But-- in the middle of chasing money-- and I chased it pretty hard—

MICHAEL EISNER:
And successfully.

PAT ROBERTSON:
And successfully. And the Lord showed me there was something more. You know, Saint Augustine said our hearts are restless 'til they rest in thee. And I had a restlessness in my heart. Something just wasn't quite right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So the money didn't do it.

PAT ROBERTSON:
No. And-- and the pursuit of money didn't do it. I wasn't making all that much money. But it-- it was a possibility of making a lot.

Video: Pat Roberston interview, part 2 MICHAEL EISNER:
But you discovered early on-- and if you'd been just a regular old businessman finding an FM station before anybody else found it and then a UHF station to create-- cable networks-- you'd-- you parlayed your knowledge, your prophetic knowledge of the media business into the biggest worldwide ministry.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
That could have been Time Warner. It could have been the Walt Disney Company. But you chose to do it in-- in worldwide philanthropic area.

PAT ROBERTSON:
That's right. Well, we were-- you know, I-- I started up with a UHF station, and nobody much wanted UHF. And I-- (LAUGHTER) I actually left New York with a wife, three children, and a U-Haul trailer and 70 bucks to buy a TV station. That was my total capital was $70.

MICHAEL EISNER:
At Portsmouth? Was that Portsmouth?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Portsmouth, Virginia. Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But why? What made you think that it—

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, I-- I really felt the Lord was calling me. I felt that I was being led by God to-- to-- to claim the airwaves for-- (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
But wait a second. The Lord may be calling you. But who told you the pro forma of the UHF station was gonna work? He's not that analytical.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Actually—

MICHAEL EISNER:
The Lord. (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
Somebody must have said-- 'cause I was thinking about UHF stations. And everybody was-- was dismissing them, saying—

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, they-- nobody wanted them. I mean, it was terrible. It was only later-- when Congress-- passed a law mandating each television set to have a UHF converter that those things began to have any potential.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Yeah, but the Lord didn't tell you that Congress was gonna do that.

PAT ROBERTSON:
No, no, no, no, no. (OVERTALK)

PAT ROBERTSON:
He just said go-- go-- go claim the station. He didn't give me all the details. I just—went out and I contacted the owner. I said, "Look, I hear you got a station." And-- the Lord had given me a number-- it was cheap. It was $37,000. And—

MICHAEL EISNER:
The Lord-- the Lord told you $37,000?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah. Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Wait a second. Wait a second. (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
How many things has the Lord told you to do that didn't work out?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Nothing he's told me. I may have thought he's told me some things that

didn't work out. But— (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
--like you misinterpret it.

PAT ROBERTSON:
That's right. But this one, that was right on the money. And—

MICHAEL EISNER:
Some friend didn't call you up and say, "Hey, Pat"-- (OVERTALK)

PAT ROBERTSON:
Not at all.

MICHAEL EISNER:
--there's a UHF station down there.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, I had gotten a letter from a friend saying this UHF station, would you like to claim it for the Lord? But I had—

MICHAEL EISNER:
He said you'd claim it for the Lord?

PAT ROBERTSON:
This friend. Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So he was a minister?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah. Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So it was his idea?

PAT ROBERTSON:
His idea to-- to-- to-- to buy this thing. And-- but I didn't even own a TV set, Michael. I knew nothing about TV. Honestly. (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
So this was a--vision?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah. I—

MICHAEL EISNER:
Why can't I get these visions?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, you did. You ran Disney. (LAUGHTER) (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
So I-- okay. So then you piece together a lot of UHF stations.

PAT ROBERTSON:
I did. I started with this. Struggled for a couple of years. It was tough. I mean, really tough. And then we added an FM station, little tiny FM. And it-- it-- we expanded, put in a new transmitter. Then we put a new transmitter into the UHF. And then I was able to get a-- a station down in Atlanta, a new license. And then we were able to pick up the station. It had gone dark in Dallas on Channel 33. And then we were able to get Channel 25 in Boston. And the next thing you know, we had a-- and then we began syndicating programs and sending them around.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But you --learned that the Lord's voice is much louder if you had a national television network.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Helps a lot. It helps a lot. And—

MICHAEL EISNER:
So you figured that out.

PAT ROBERTSON:
But we-- we grew a network-- you know, I-- I-- I learned-- you learn as you go along-- we began to bicycle programs because we didn't have satellite in those days. And we-- we would tape shows, and then we'd send them among our owned and operated stations. And that was kind of like our network.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But you consider yourself a religious broadcaster, not a televangelist.

PAT ROBERTSON:
That's right. I'm a religious broadcaster. Because, I mean, I-- I run stations. I've managed stations. I've managed the network. We had a-- we had a sales rep firm up here. You know? And then, of course, later-- when-- when satellite came along, instead of bicycling our tapes-- we wanted new technology. And so RCA said, "Look, we'll rent a transponder, your own transponder. You can have it 24 hours a day." And-- we said, "Okay. We'll take it." And-- it was HBO first. Then it was Turner. Then it was us. We were-- third on the Sat Com 1 satellite of RCA. And that gave us the ability to talk to the whole nation. So suddenly we could hook up America live. And we could have real-time news, real-time programs.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So can you-- bench lift 2,000 pounds? That was-- (LAUGHTER) I can't help it. (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
No, I'm looking at the man who's 75? Seventy- (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
--six years old who's in incredible health.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So most people that are watching this would like to look like you look at 76.

Video: Pat Robertson interview, part 3 PAT ROBERTSON:
I-- I have a doctor who is a very strong person, who played on the football team of Miami of Ohio. He's one of the strongest people I've ever encountered. And-- he said, "I wanna teach you how to do-- strength work with your legs." I said, "Okay." So I started working. And I got up to 570 pounds on the leg press, one of those inclined things. And I thought it was such a big deal. I called everybody in the gym around to look. And, "Look, look, just"-- well, Saturday my coach comes in. And he gets me up. Next thing you know it's 750, then it's 800. Then he starts moving again. Let's do it again. A few days later and a few months later. And then it was 1,000 pounds, then it was 1,200. And then one day it was 1,500. And he almost killed me. I could hardly walk when I got through. And then a few months after that he said, "I wanna give you bragging rights. We're gonna go to 2,000 pounds." I said, "It's impossible to do that." Well-- I went up. It was amazing. That one afternoon it was 1,400 and then ten reps at 1,500 and then at 1,600 and 1,700, 1,800, 1,900. And finally they put more weight on that thing you've ever seen in your life. He measured it at 2,000 pounds. A couple of guys pushed it up. I-- I-- I didn't-- lift the-- the-- break off of the thing and do a full squat 'cause it'd have killed me if I'd have done that. But anyhow, they-- they lowered the weight down on me, and I said, "Okay, here we go." And I pushed up 2,000 pounds once.

MICHAEL EISNER:
See, most people think of you as a religious-- preacher, in a way. They-- they think-- sometimes they think you, you know, when you say there's a-- you say that a tsunami is coming, they think you maybe lost it for five minutes. Another time when you talk about hearing people, they think that's your core calling. Is that your core calling? Is your core calling being a visionary in the media world?

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, I think it's a little of everything. But-- our-- our Lord has gifted me with the ability to-- to-- to be a visionary. And I-- I'm a-- as I say, my-- my DNA is an entrepreneur. I love to create businesses. I love to-- to-- to do things like that. And I am a relatively good businessman. I've been in business for 40-some years.

MICHAEL EISNER:
You're-- you're a great businessman. Now, do you take like your own instinctual research. All these big companies do research, which I don't believe in.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
I believe in instinctual research. But do you take your instinctual research of your constituency and formulate some of your policies from your constituency that-- that you have to espouse to keep your constituency happy? Or do you create your own point of view and hope they'll follow you?

PAT ROBERTSON:
No, we create our own point of view, and I hope I'm listening to the Lord. But in terms of-- of-- we survey people. We do in-depth surveys. We have broad based surveys like: What do you like? I mean, what can we do to help you? We believe in being servants. So we're serving the audience, and we ask: What do you want? What would you like? And we try to-- to give them the type of program they like. But in terms of the message, the message comes out of the (LAUGHTER) Bible. And I-- I don't change that for anybody.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Well, you read the Bible as a very literal document.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Oh, yes.

MICHAEL EISNER:
See, I had a problem with you.

PAT ROBERTSON:
All right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Video: Pat Robertson interview, part 4 Probably-- you may not even be aware of it and it didn’t start with you. But we felt that we should offer to our employees, we have 125,000 employees and a lot of them in the creative areas, same-sex health insurance. We were not the first company to do it, but we were not the last. And we felt that if a couple of any kind was really committed to each other, not somebody they'd met, you know, the night before, but really committed, and there was an illness, that we should afford that couple same-sex health benefits. And that was a firestorm with the Baptists. And they-- boycotted the Walt Disney Company. It was very ineffectual. It didn't work. 'Cause I wasn't sure that the people themselves really believed that. And then-- and I think you were fairly silent on that. But—

PAT ROBERTSON:
I was silent.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But-- but then when Disney allowed-- 'cause we didn't promote it, but it did exist at Disney, the gay community created Gay Days, either at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. And we could not, nor would we-- prohibit anybody from coming in who had a ticket as long as they acted civilly and all that stuff. And that was a big firestorm with you and-- and with the 700 Club. And—you really came out against us and really blasted homosexuality. And I wasn't sure whether that was you or the constituency that you serve.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, I think it was the City of Orlando. It wasn't Disney. The City of Orlando-- sort of put its corporate weight-- behind the whole month of this activity. And we felt this-- I mean, I felt personally that that wasn't too good a thing. (LAUGHTER) So-- but I don't think I ever said anything about Disney, per se, in terms of giving spousal benefits. I mean, that was-- that was your call.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Yeah, I think that some of this-- the-- the words that have been accredited to you in some of these areas you may have said for, I don't know, maybe I'm putting words in your mouth, for hyperbole rather than deep conviction…

PAT ROBERTSON:
Sometimes. You know, Michael, I've-- I've ad-libbed-- I've ad-libbed at least 8,000 shows in my day. And whenever you-- you get on-- on an ad-lib, I was talking to your floor director, she used to be in-- in the circus on the high wire. And I'm walking the tightrope every day. I don't work on the script. And-- so I do news, and I do commentary. I do-- I do ad-lib editorials. And it's obvious-- it's easy to put your foot in your mouth and-- and get a little carried away. And I do that. I'm-- I'm very passionate.

MICHAEL EISNER:
I mean, another area that-- that-- that you're on the right track but sometimes for me is I have a very good friend from Venezuela who despises Chavez.

PAT ROBERTSON:
(LAUGHTER) Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
And has every reason to.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yes.

MICHAEL EISNER:
The man is-- clearly dangerous. Your statement, which I think scared him about, maybe it would be a good idea to have him assassinated, whatever-- was one of those high wire-- on-the-air-- acclamations that I doubt whether you meant the actual act of doing it. But you meant to say that this was a dangerous guy.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well--

MICHAEL EISNER:
Or were you talking policy?

PAT ROBERTSON:
We had a-- policy. We had a five-minute piece explaining how he had murdered people and what a horrible person and he was looking to Iran to get nuclear weapons. My-- thought Michael is about policy. I-- I can't assassinate anybody. It has to be the President of the United States as a-- as a executive order against that. So the whole thing is just strictly for discussion. I don't like to go to war. I think wars are horrible. And I think to kill young men and women to-- go to war. And I was thinking about Saddam Hussein. Wouldn't it have been better if we'd have had a little team to go in there and dispatch that murderer instead of going to war with Iraq? Wouldn't it have been better to have dispatched Adolph Hitler rather than have 50 million people killed in World War II? And so it was a matter of a policy discussion in my mind.

MICHAEL EISNER:
How 'bout Islam? The-- I'm-- I am not an expert on religion. But the religion of Islam, there's a lot of controversy as to what is it-- what parts of it are-- are parts to be concerned about, what parts are not. Where is it as-- as safe as Christianity and Judaism and where it isn’t. And I know you know a lot about that.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, I have-- studied a great deal and have been exposed to it a great deal. You know, we operated a TV station on the border of Israel for 18 years and in Lebanon. And-- the-- radicals-- car bombed us. And they Katusha rocketed our station. And they finally invaded and blew us up at Hezbollah. But here's the deal in about -- Iraq-- I mean, in-- in Islam. Mohammad taught jihad. He taught war. And what he says was: If you find an unbeliever and if he will convert and pay alms, then let him go in peace. But if not, you are to kill him. So this was the instruction from the man who founded the faith. It is a very violent religion, although there are many millions of people who embrace Islam who are peaceful, loving, fine people. I've known many. You've known many. They're splendid people. But yet there's this lunatic fringe now that has taken hold and is probably-- well, let's give or take ten, 20 percent of those embracing Islam. So that's 100 to 200 million people.

MICHAEL EISNER:
But in the history of Christianity, in the Middle Ages-- and-- and come out of the-- enormous amount of violence and killing and particularly in that part of the world.

PAT ROBERTSON:
The Crusades were a terrible mistake. There's no doubt about it. But Jesus Christ didn't teach killing and violence. He taught peace. He said you're to love your enemy. Do good to them who spitefully use you and persecute you. So your-- this is a religion of love; whereas, Mohammad preached a religion of hate.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So last question.

PAT ROBERTSON:
All right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
This may be a silly question. I've almost been married as long as you have. About 40 years. How long have you been married?

PAT ROBERTSON:
About 52.

MICHAEL EISNER:
All right. So I'm not-- I'm not in your league. I'm not in your league.

PAT ROBERTSON:
All right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So my wife is Christian.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Right.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So I appreciate the fact that she's Christian. She can go to heaven. I'm Jewish.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Yeah.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So from what I understand, we only can be together in-- on this Earth. 'Cause I can't go to heaven, according to the 700 Club.

PAT ROBERTSON:
No, not according to the 700 Club. I don’t know who it’s according to.

MICHAEL EISNER:
All right. So-- well, I thought Jews couldn't go to heaven.

PAT ROBERTSON:
All right. Here's the deal. And with this-- the Apostle Paul said that all Israel will be saved. There's going to come a time when all Jews are gonna come to heaven. They're all gonna meet the-- the Lord. And-- and it's-- it's in the Old Testament. Zachariah says they'll look upon him who they have pierced, and they're going to mourn and so forth. But there's gonna come a time of extraordinary persecution. There already has come. But it's gonna be some serious stuff. And-- it's told by the Old Testament prophets the answer that we believe as evangelicals is that God has a special role for the Jewish people. And you look at-- you look at the 22nd Psalm. He talks about his bones pulled out of joint, you know? And he talks about people surrounding. And he looks down, and it describes the crucifixion. It's all in there. It's in the Old Testament-- describing what happened. And-- I'm just one of the goy that came along late. (LAUGHTER) I-- I'm-- I'm converting to the-- to the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

MICHAEL EISNER:
So you're converting to Judaism.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Well, I'm not converting to Judaism. (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
See, I thought I'd-- this would be-- this would be a big announcement here.

PAT ROBERTSON:
(LAUGHTER) I'm--

MICHAEL EISNER:
I could get a big rating.

PAT ROBERTSON:
I'm converting-- (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
Pat Robertson converts to Judaism. (OVERTALK)

PAT ROBERTSON:
--faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And-- but the time is coming very soon when there's going to be a revelation of the Lord to everybody. And all Israel, all Israel is gonna get saved.

MICHAEL EISNER:
You've always been known to be very pro-Israel.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Totally pro-Israel. I mean, I-- I've got the Star of David printed on my underwear. I mean, it's that kind of thing.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Thought you had Mickey Mouse on your underwear.

PAT ROBERTSON:
(LAUGHTER) (UNINTEL) said you're more Israeli than (UNINTEL). But in-- in any event-- I firmly believe that according to the Bible, the-- the fullness of the Gentiles will come in. And then all Israel will be saved. That's what the Apostle Paul wrote.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Wow. (LAUGHTER) Thank you very much-- (OVERTALK)

MICHAEL EISNER:
Got a lot to think about now.

PAT ROBERTSON:
(LAUGHTER) I want you to be with your wife.

MICHAEL EISNER:
Yeah. I'm gonna be with her, one way or the other.

PAT ROBERTSON:
Okay. (LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL EISNER:
Thank you.

© 2012 CNBC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 2.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.78%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.54%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.57%
13.57%
Cash Back Cards 17.91%
17.91%
Rewards Cards 17.15%
17.15%
Source: Bankrate.com