Robertson speaks to teens

The Rev. Pat Robertson, a noted Republican famous for lambasting leftist groups, turned his criticism to the Republican Party in his speech at the Third Annual Virginia Federation of Teenage Republicans Convention on Saturday afternoon.

The founder of the Christian Broadcast Network charged the Republican Congress as “abandoning” fiscal responsibility, noting among other things the $223 million for the construction of a bridge connecting Alaska’s Gravina Island to Ketchikan (also dubbed “the Bridge to Nowhere”).

“This is our government at work, and unfortunately it is run by Republicans,” he said.

Robertson was among several Republican figures who spoke to a group of about 40 people at the convention held at the Prince William County Government Center.

In light of the NSA wire-tapping revelation, which he called a “tool of oppression,” Robertson admonished the Bush administration for “encroaching on” Americans’ personal liberties.

“One day this whole thing is going to be in your hands,” Robertson said to the group of teenagers, encouraging them not to stray from their “core values” – Christianity, limited government and fiscal responsibility – in their political pursuits.

Vincent Harris, chairman of the group, chose Robertson as the keynote speaker and was “pleasantly surprised” by the direction he took in his speech.

“We have lost our core values,” the 18-year-old said, “and have become too exclusionary.”

Harris said Robertson’s speech was the most influential of the day and succinctly outlined the internal changes the Republican Party must make.

Scott Reily, a student at Osbourn High School, said he thought Robertson was the quintessential Republican.

“I think I value family as much as he does,” the 17-year-old said, but stated a difference in opinion on the relationship between religion and government.

“[Robertson] values religion more than government,” he said, “and I believe in complete separation of church and state.”

The convention was held, Harris said, to educate young Republicans and encourage involvement at the grassroots level.