PHILADELPHIA -- Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson acknowledged today his son was conceived out of wedlock but said his past mistake will not hurt his presidential campaign built on 'moral tradition.'
'This isn't going to have a negative impact on me because people who support me understand forgiveness,' Robertson told a news conference in Philadelphia where he began a two-day campaign swing through Pennsylvania.
The former television evangelist blasted reporters for 'stepping over the line' by probing into his past.
'I think frankly it is outrageous to pry into a man's past and try to do damage to a man's wife and children under the guise of journalism,' Robertson said.
'I know you've been looking for where the limits of propriety are in the quest of analyzing presidential candidates,' he said, adding he also blamed his public relations people for embellishing on details about his past.
Robertson acknowledged in an interview with The Washington Post published today that he was not married on the date he has always given as his wedding date.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Robertson was married Aug. 27, 1954, 10 weeks before his first son was born. Robertson told the Post in July he was married March 22, 1954.
He admitted to the newspaper that is merely the day he and his wife celebrate their anniversary because 'our son was conceived that day.'
Robertson said he had not previously revealed the true date of his marriage because, 'This was a man trying to protect his family.'
A Robertson aide in Norfolk said, 'We're not going to issue a statement from this office today.'
Robertson said during a campaign swing through Iowa Wednesday that the nuclear family has been under attack in recent years from teenage pregnancy and divorce and that he would do what he could to patch up the family unit by offering tax breaks to couples and women who stay in the home.
'We need to reward people for being loving, law-abiding couples,' Robertson said in proposing the tax incentives for returning to a traditional family structure.
'All I'm saying is that we need to get back to those family virtues -- the respect for moral traditions that made this country great,' he said.
In formally announcing his candidacy last week, just after resigning his ordination as a Southern Baptist minister, Robertson declared, 'We must bring back the old-fashioned concept of moral restraint and abstinence before marriage.'
He told the Post his own pre-marital sexual experiences took place before he dedicated his life to Jesus, and he said young people today should not follow his example.
Robertson also admitted to having exaggerated some items on his resume, such as having done graduate work at the University of London when it was only a summer art course for Americans, the Post said.