Wild Oats Robertson rewrites his resume

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Only one week after Televangelist Pat Robertson formally declared his presidential candidacy, he received a chilling political baptism. Press accounts disclosed that Robertson's first child had been conceived out of wedlock and that the former minister had misstated his wedding date to conceal the fact. Robertson, who has condemned sex before marriage, said he had merely tried to "protect his family" in previously suggesting that he had been married in March 1954 rather than on Aug. 27.

Robertson's first son was born ten weeks after the wedding. Robertson said that he and his wife Dede considered March 22, 1954 -- the candidate's birthday -- their true marriage date "because our son was conceived that day." "I have never, ever indicated that in the early part of my life I didn't sow some wild oats," Robertson declared last week. "But I also said that Jesus Christ came into my life, changed my life and forgave me." The candidate's reaction to the disclosure, which first appeared in the Wall Street Journal, was indignant. "I think it is outrageous to intrude into a man's family in the guise of journalism."

Other discrepancies about Robertson's past have also surfaced. The campaign had claimed that the candidate did graduate study at the University of London in 1950; in fact, he took a single summer course. Several weeks ago Robertson emphatically denied ever suggesting that only Christians and Jews were fit to govern. But TIME has obtained an audiotape of a January 1985 broadcast of the The 700 Club in which he says exactly that. Last week Robertson waffled on his earlier denial, saying that "sometimes one misspeaks and sometimes one forgets."

As he fielded questions about what is gospel and what is apocrypha in the life of Robertson, the candidate professed to see a political plus. "You are proving that I am a human being," he told reporters. Being human is one trait that a growing number of candidates from both parties have firmly established by now.