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Pat Robertson was just as nutty 1n 1987 as he is now which is probably why he decided that year to run for president against Vice President George Bush (this was before he became an HW). Robertson and his Christian right followers scared the hell out of Bush during the 1987 Presidency II in Florida.

Hundreds of Robertson's followers showed up at county caucuses where 60 percent of the delegates were being picked for the November Presidency II. The effort paid off and many of the delegates that showed up planned to vote for Robertson.

Bush's campaign was caught off guard. They quickly starting taking Robertson seriously understanding that a sitting Vice President could not afford to lose to a television evangelical at a nationally watched event.

George Bush PII Bush, a blue-blood Republican with deep ties to party leaders and elected officials turned to them - they represented 40 percent of the delegates at Presidency II.

His strategy worked. Bush, who was clearly spooked by the Robertson surge, got 57 percent of the vote to Robertson's 36 percent. Robertson's team claimed victory noting that they were after all running against a vice president.

Everyone else that year largely ignored the contest conceding that they could make little headway against Bush's claim to the establishment and Robertson's hold on the rank-and-file. Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, Pete DuPont, and Alexander Haig divided up the leftover votes.

What was clear was that Florida had set the stage for the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

In Iowa, it was clear to Crowley Political Report that Bush was in trouble. Robertson's  "win" in Florida helped energize his followers.  Dole went for broke. When the votes were counted, the Kansas senator had 37 percent of the Iowa vote. He was followed by Robertson at 25 percent. Bush had a dismal 19 percent.

Arriving in New Hampshire, Crowley Political Report saw a more aggressive George Bush. He spent a fortune on ads attacking Dole. Despite Robertson's second place showing in Iowa, he was largely irrelevant in New Hampshire and his campaign quickly faded.

Bush defeated Dole who angrily accused Bush of "lying about my record." Dole would eventually become the GOP nominee but not until 1996.

A case could be made that if Robertson had defeated Bush in Presidency II, Dole may have been the 1988 GOP nominee.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport 


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