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TV interview
Alan Keyes on CNN's Inside Politics
August 30, 2004

JUDY WOODRUFF, ANCHOR: Two-time Republican presidential hopeful Alan Keyes is here in New York for his party's convention. Keyes, we know, was recently chosen by Illinois Republicans to face Democrat Barack Obama for a vacant Senate seat.

It's good to see you again.

ALAN KEYES: Good to be back. Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Thanks for coming by.

All right. Alan Keyes, you are well known to be a conservative, true-blue conservative member of this party, but Alan Keyes, the main speakers at this convention, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain. Is this the face of the Republican Party you know and love?

KEYES: Well, I think first of all we have to look at the platform, which truly conforms in most respects to the kinds of things that I believe. The people who put that platform together came from all over the country, and represent, I think, the real grassroots heart and majority of the party. The podium is put together in light of the decisions of a few people about what will best serve the interests of the president as he faces reelection.

As I said to someone earlier today, you have to fit the armor to the individual. David didn't try to fight in Saul's armor. I wouldn't try to fight in armor that's made for G. W. Bush. What I believe is the approach that's best for Alan Keyes in Illinois may not be the best approach for G. W. Bush, as he confronts national election from his point of view.

WOODRUFF: But do you think it's an honest face for the party to put on, to showcase these individuals who have some important views on issues from abortion to tax cuts--something you care deeply about--to gay marriage, global warming, you go on down the list . . .

KEYES: You raise a very valid point. The fellow I'm up against in Illinois, Barack Obama, they put a mask on him at the Democratic convention. He's actually a hard-line, hard-hearted, deeply pro-abortion person who even favors infanticide. If a baby's born alive in the course of a botched abortion, Barack Obama believes they should be allowed to put that baby aside to die, and has voted for that in the Senate of Illinois.

Obviously, they've put a mask on him--and I think that's a bad idea. I think we ought to present ourselves honestly and sincerely to the voters, as I will do to the voters of Illinois, and that to do something else is, as Phyllis Schlafly and others have observed, is a mistake. And I think they're right about that.

WOODRUFF: Barack Obama got enormous attention at the Democratic convention. Do you think the press is fawning over too much? Has he gotten too much uncritical coverage by the press?

KEYES: I think the truth is, the Democrats had to hype him up because he's an obscure [state] senator who had basically been from a very narrow senate district in Illinois, wasn't well-known even throughout the state, they had to hype him to pretend that he is some national figure with a national base. I am already an established figure with a national reputation.

People can see just now [on a video clip] I'm sitting between McCain and President Bush in a debate in the course of the Republican primaries. I don't need the hype because I'm a real candidate. He's a fictional one. [laughs]

WOODRUFF: Alan Keyes, but the fact is, the polls show him well ahead of you, and you've got two months to try to turn things around.

KEYES: Actually, that's nonsense. The phony polls, where they won't even tell you what the sample is--because it's probably so biased against Republicans--shouldn't be taken seriously. The real poll is taken among the Democrats, themselves. They just tried a corrupt maneuver on Friday to remove my name from the ballot in Illinois. Did you know that?

And the truth is, if they had confidence in this guy and thought he could win, why are they trying to steal the election by cheating? They know he can't stand a fair test.

WOODRUFF: Quick last question. Only 6% of the delegates here are African American. Are you comfortable with that?

KEYES: Well, how many of the delegates are Roman Catholic? How many delegates are strong and deeply believing Christians? I believe that we have to reach out to all people. I represent black, Republican, Roman Catholic, Christians of deep belief. I think that these people are watching the race in Illinois, deeply concerned that the president and others should be supporting what is, after all, a historic event in the history of the country--and I think that's going to be important.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. Alan Keyes, running for the United States Senate in the State of Illinois. It's great to see you again.

KEYES: Appreciate it. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

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