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TV interview
Alan Keyes on CNN's American Morning
August 11, 2004

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about the Senate race in Illinois.

He's never been a resident of Illinois until lately, but he's playing one now in a campaign for the state's open U.S. Senate seat. Republican Alan Keyes entered the race just about a week ago. His opponent, Barack Obama, is said to be a future star within the Democratic Party.

Alan Keyes, my guest now in Chicago. Good morning to you. Nice to have you along with us today.

ALAN KEYES, ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Good morning. Good to be here. Actually, I entered the race on Sunday.

HEMMER: On Sunday. So, less than a week then, all right? It's official, though.

KEYES: Way less.

HEMMER: Why should someone in the state of Illinois vote for a man from the state of Maryland?

KEYES: Actually, I am from the state of Illinois now, but they should vote for me if they believe in the things I believe in and want to support those things for Illinois and for this country--the reason that we should, in fact, vote for anybody who is a candidate for office.

And there are a lot of people in Illinois who do believe, as I do, in things like the importance of respecting the basic declaration of principles that protect the life of the innocent, limiting government, having a tax system that isn't essentially another form of oppression that takes control of money out of people's hands, having parents make the critical judgments for their own children.

If they believe these kinds of things and want to respect the traditional family, for instance, and not embrace an understanding that destroys its moral foundations, then they are already part of the same community that I belong to. There are a lot of those folks in Illinois. They are already part of the community of Alan Keyes, and they will be supporting the things that, in common, we deeply believe are important to this state and this country.

HEMMER: Well, let me take you back to the year 2000. Hillary Clinton, a new resident in the state of New York--in fact, at that time you said this about Hillary Clinton's running for the Senate here in New York: "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it."

It appears you have in 2004. Care to go back on those words?

KEYES: Well, I don't. Absolutely not. Hillary Clinton did what she did for the sake of her agenda of personal ambition, carefully planned and worked out over months in which she was using and abusing the state of New York--because she looked at several other states--as a platform for her personal ambition.

I, on the other hand, have responded to the call of the people of Illinois who have asked me to come and help them with a crisis situation. It doesn't violate my principal understanding of federalism, because federalism has two parts: state sovereignty and national unity.

When the principles of national union are threatened, then state sovereignty takes second place to defending those principles.

That was the basis of Lincoln's statesmanship, the greatest statesman, I think, in American history who came [audio failure] here in fulfillment of my principled understanding of federalism, called here by the sovereign choice of the leaders and grassroots of the Republican Party of Illinois. In every way, my step is consistent because I'm not serving an agenda of [audio failure] the very agenda of principle that Hillary Clinton violated.

HEMMER: Apologies to our viewers here, we're getting a bit of an interrupt there in the satellite. Not sure if it's the weather system moving across the middle part of the country or not, but we're going to hang with this.

Back on the screen. You said this about your opponent: "I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence. Obama has broken those and rejected those principles. He has taken the slaveholder's position."

Spoken in August of 2004, just a few days ago. Barack Obama answered you this way:
BARACK OBAMA, ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: "I do suggest that he look, even to members of his own party, to see whether it's appropriate to use that kind of language."
HEMMER: Appropriate use of language. Is it?

KEYES: Of course. Obama thinks that I look to people in the party or anybody else for my understanding of the great issue of American history? I look to my heritage. My ancestors were slaves. I spent a good deal of my time thinking about the issue of slavery, and have written about it, and have, in fact, made my understanding of the principles that were involved in its abolition one of the key focuses of my career in public life.

So, I think I understand a great deal about it. First thing I understand, by the way, is that slavery is not a racial issue, it's an issue of human justice--justice for all people, based on the notion that every human being has a worth that comes not from human choice or constitutions, but from the hand of almighty God.

That was the principle that was used to overthrow the slaveholders. And Obama violates that principle when he withdraws respect from the life of unborn human beings in the womb.

So, of course, the same deep issue of principle that was involved in slavery is dividing the country today over this heinous practice of abortion.

HEMMER: How do you rate your chances of victory?

KEYES: Well, I think there are a lot of folks in Illinois, as I say, who believe in and serve the same ideals, the values and principles that have shaped the American conscience over the course of centuries responsible for abolition, responsible for the civil rights movement, responsible for the great advances in women's right and the protection of the innocence of children.

All of these folks who believe in these principles and have not rejected them, as I believe Obama has, they are going to stand with me in this election.

So I think my chances are very good.

HEMMER: Alan Keyes in Illinois, Chicago. Thanks.

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