Race for the Presidency
While other GOP candidates debate the merits of compassionate conservatism,
Alan Keyes forcefully argues for hard-line positions that he sees as true
Republican conservative ideals.
Born: Aug. 7, 1950, in New York City. Father's army career kept
family on the move. Keyes lived in New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, Missouri
and Italy. He won a national oratorical competition while in high school.
Now lives in Maryland.
Education: Briefly attended Cornell University. One friend remembers
Keyes received death threats for opposing Vietnam War protesters who seized
a campus building. Keyes earned a bachelor's degree in 1972 and a Ph.D.
in 1979 from Harvard University. Both degrees were in government affairs.
Family: Married wife Jocelyn in 1981. They have three children.
Down time: Enjoys opera and likes to watch westerns, action movies
or "Star Trek" reruns on television.
International affairs: Joined U.S. Foreign Service in 1979. Met
wife in Bombay, India, while serving as embassy vice consul. Appointed
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Economic and Social Council in 1983 and served
as assistant secretary of state for international organizations from 1985
to 1987. Became Reagan administration's chief spokesman on South Africa
Political life: Ran unsuccessfully for Maryland's U.S. Senate
seat in 1988 and 1992. Campaigned for Republican presidential nomination
in 1996 and 2000.
Making waves: Aired his conservative views on a nationally syndicated
radio talk-show from 1994 to 1999.
Gifted speaker who loves to spar with opponents and fellow Republicans
over issues. Even took on a moderator at a Republican debate in Iowa in January
2000. Mixes fire-and-brimstone delivery with a professorial intellect.
Tends to see problems in stark, black-and-white terms. While some voters
admire Keyes as a speaker, most find his positions too far to the right.
Considered extreme in his political philosophy, Keyes says that, if elected
president, he would:
* End welfare system.
* Ban gays in the military.
* Prohibit abortion except to save a woman's life.
* Replace current income tax system with national sales tax.
* Close U.S. Education Department and ban sex education in schools.
Keyes has endorsed public paddling of parents who desert their children.
God & Country
Sees erosion in religious faith as leading cause behind America's moral
decay and breakdown of the family. Not afraid to inject religious conviction
into political debate. He calls homosexuality "an abomination" and takes
a firm stand against gay marriages.
A devout Catholic, Keyes' message resonates most with Christian conservatives.
Has committed supporters who believe Keyes can push moral issues to forefront
of Republican Party politics. Keyes believes his supporters represent
the heart of the party.
Fiercely loyal volunteers devote long hours to his cause. His appeal
among voters has slowly grown, and he now usually attracts crowds in the
hundreds to his campaign events. As for Americans who won't vote for him
because they think he cannot win, he has said they are "either very stupid
or they're insincere."
By early 2000, Keyes had raised $3.56 million in campaign contributions.
Although he had taken in much less than Republican front-runners Texas
Gov. George Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain, Keyes did better than anyone
expected in the New Hampshire primary and scored a respectable third place
in the Iowa Republican caucuses.
Has proposed a bold plan for campaign finance reform: Allow only people
who can vote to contribute as much as they want, remove limits on campaign
spending and require full disclosure.
A foe of race-based affirmative action, Keyes says he may have benefited
from such programs in college, although he calls that point "irrelevant."
"There were a lot of people who benefited from segregation. Did that
mean that they should have supported its perpetuation? Once you know that
something is an injustice, you move to stop it," he said.
Keyes has criticized the news media for what he calls institutional prejudice,
complaining that outlets have repeatedly left his name out of news stories
because they can't adjust to a black politician who is a conservative
Republican. He has accused the media of waging "a blackout to keep the
Political experts and pundits think Keyes has no chance of winning the
Republican nomination. So why does he run?
Most think he wants to push his moral agenda within the Republican Party.
Keyes told reporters after one Iowa appearance, "I take great pleasure
and pride in the fact that the other candidates are, yes, learning how
to talk about these serious issues from me."
But other skeptics wonder if Keyes' is simply using his candidacy to
boost his paid public speaking marketability.
Keyes campaign news and positions on the issues, from Keyes 2000
Grand Old Party
Republican Party activities, news and positions, from Republican National
Keep track of contributions to Keyes' campaign, from Center for Responsive
The road to the Republican Convention, from philly.com
The Oval Office
Insights on past U.S. presidents, from C-SPAN
Election features and updates, from Real Cities
Chicago Tribune/KRT; Fort Worth Star-Telegram/KRT; Facts on File; The
New York Times; The Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; The Des Moines
Register; Houston Chronicle; The Boston Globe; Associated Press; Federal Election Commission
Producer: Chuck Myers/KRT
Designer: Adam Mark/KRT
Photography: William Snyder of The Dallas Morning News/KRT; Michael
Bryant of The Philadelphia Inquirer/KRT
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