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IT SEEMS TO US . . . <br> PAT ROBERTSON TALKS OUT OF SCHOOL, AND MUCH ADO ABOUT AN OLD JOB

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE: God bless Pat Robertson, the man just can't help himself. The evangelist, who has claimed the power to steer hurricanes and, like the Lord's own radio transmitter, periodically passes on information from the Almighty, now says President Bush assured him last year that there would be no American casualties in Iraq.

Frankly, we're inclined to believe the good reverend on this one, for the same reasons that courts of law give credence to those who offer statements against their own interests. Why would he say something that could hurt the candidate he supports except that it's true?

Fortunately for Bush, Robertson has acquired such a reputation as a flake that only the preacher's supporters are likely to believe him. And they're probably going to vote for Bush, anyway.

CAMPAIGN OF DUNCES: Has there been a dopier development in this presidential campaign than the non-issue of Laura Bush's previous career? In responding to a question about the first lady, Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of the Democratic nominee, had forgotten that Bush had formerly been a teacher.

When the error was pointed out, Kerry apologized, but the Bush crowd would have none of it, accusing her of . . . well, something. The reaction was so over the top, you'd think Kerry had mentioned that the Cheneys love their lesbian daughter or something equally horrible.

A bouquet to the first lady, though, who observed that Kerry had nothing to apologize for. Only 11 days until this is all over with. Maybe.

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