[JURIST] Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson [personal website] said Wednesday that his remarks earlier this week seeming to call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile] were misinterpreted. Speaking Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's The 700 Club [program website], Robertson said that the US has the ability "to take [Chavez] out" [recorded video; JURIST report] and that the US should exercise that ability in order to prevent Venezuela from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." Appearing on the same program Wednesday, Robertson now says that his comment was misinterpreted [recorded video]. Robertson explained: "I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping." Venezuelan officials have called for the White House to condemn Robertson's statements, and while the White House has not yet made a statement, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has dismissed the comments saying Robertson is a private citizen. Reuters has more.
5:29 PM ET - Robertson issued a statement [text] late Wednesday afternoon apologizing for calling for Chavez's assassination. Robertson said that his statement was "spoke[n] in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him." AP has more.