But Pat Robertson weaseled before apologizing; he first claimed he never said anything about "assassination ... I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time."
Later in the day, Robertson finally pulled the foot from his deep throat:
"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement," Robertson said. "I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."
But he compared Chavez to Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Adolph Hitler and quoted German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "[That if a madman were] driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver."
Bonhoeffer was hanged by the Nazis for his involvement in a 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler.