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Press conference
Alan Keyes media interview
October 5, 2004

ALAN KEYES, ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I've talked in this campaign about every issue of importance to the people of Illinois--

Including, by the way, the need for fundamental reform in our tax system, to abolish the income tax, to replace it with a Fair Tax that will actually give people the first use of every dollar they earn, instead of having the government tax away everyone's surplus before they can save it, invest it, for the good of their families and their future.

And we have talked about the need to make sure we are addressing problems in the healthcare area, so that we don't have medical specialists and practitioners leaving the state, so that we're not like Barack Obama, sitting on our hands for years instead of dealing with the problem of malpractice insurance reform that is needed in order to deal with the skyrocketing rates of malpractice insurance. We need tort reform. We need to put caps on the outrageous damage awards that have been made, so that we can restore true professionalism and integrity to our court system, when it comes to dealing with these torts. These things haven't been done.

QUESTION: [unintelligible: gay marriage]

KEYES: At the end of the day, I think there are people in Illinois who understand the truth. The top challenge for our state is in fact the challenge of our moral priorities--but that challenge is what is affecting our courage, and the courage of some of our political leaders, in dealing with problems.

Take, for instance, the enormous bad distribution of economic opportunity in the Chicagoland area, where you have people in the Southside and in the south suburbs who are cut off from economic opportunity, who have to go to their jobs with a two-hour commute, who have to get up at 4:00 and 4:30 in the morning in order to reach their places of work.

We need to do something to put jobs for people where they live, to make sure that the vacant lots become expanding small and independent businesses. That means we need to cut the taxes. That means we need to provide opportunities so small business people will have access to capital--because, you don't get jobs by killing businesses that provide the jobs.

Unfortunately, that kind of an approach--supporting higher fees and higher regulation--the kind of approach, sadly, that Barack Obama is famous for, it kills businesses. It doesn't provide jobs.

What we need is to put opportunity where people live. And that means we need to create in the neighborhoods where they live the engines of job creation, which can only be done by our small and independent businesses.

QUESTION: [unintelligible]

KEYES: I think, in point of fact, there is a real challenge for the Democrats this time around. And that challenge is that the Democrat Party, aside from lacking common sense in its approach to economic affairs really needed to provide equitable opportunities, even in the area that's controlled by the Democrat machine, that equity is not respected. People are driven out of their homes by urban renewal and rebuilding projects that don't allow folks to live in the neighborhoods which have been theirs, and where they're being pushed out of their homes into other areas. Instead of provided with the means to build new homes, they see people who are wealthy coming in and replacing them. That's not right. It's not fair.

But in addition to that kind of problem, there is the deep gap that has developed between what the Democrat Party is pushing for in terms of the destruction of traditional marriage, in terms of the willingness to support things like abortion, and the fact that to a black Christians, a lot of Roman Catholics in Chicago, this is deeply against their faith, it is deeply against their belief.

The Democrats will pay the price this time for having farmed the vote of conscientious people and betrayed their economic interests and betrayed their moral faith.

QUESTION: [unintelligible]

KEYES: The notion that people are concerned about their economic future is exactly right.

But they know, at the end of the day, that that lack of addressing the economic problem comes because we have a lot of leaders who don't have integrity. They don't have the integrity to stand against the special interests who have been pushing for free trade, who have been gutting the opportunities of this country in order to serve their interests--profiteering by outsourcing jobs, by locating plants overseas and then shipping cheap goods back into the American market, where our people have to compete against slave labor, against unregulated economies, where no provision is made for union organization, no provision is made for the safety of the workers. I think that's unfair competition, and these trade agreements have been resulting in the destruction of our manufacturing base, the destruction of economic opportunity for our people. And you know what that comes from? It comes from a lack of integrity and courage in our political leadership, an unwillingness to speak the truth about the hard issues.

That's what people see in Alan Keyes: I'm just somebody who speaks my mind, who speaks sincerely and honestly about the challenges that face both our moral heart and our common sense. And we are going to draw together a majority of the people in this state who will stand with me to champion that integrity, and launch a new day for Illinois.

QUESTION: [unintelligible]

KEYES: I think we have seen, all over the state, enormous turnouts of support. We have seen the Republican Party gaining in its ranks.

I went to a dinner the other night down in southern Illinois. They usually have 150 people in attendance. They had over 400 this time, most of them people who have never participated in the political process before.

That's happened in county by county, all over the state. People are waking up. They are being revived by the prospect of somebody who isn't manipulating, isn't deceiving, isn't trying to tell people what they want to hear, but instead is addressing the real challenges to our moral heart and to our common sense--so that we will reestablish the integrity of our family life, reestablish our respect for the principle that we're all created equal, and at the same time, reestablish a good environment for job creation that respects the role of small and independent businesses, and reestablish fairness for the American worker, instead of making them compete with labor in slave countries that are not respecting the rights of the people in those areas.

QUESTION: We certainly have captured much discussion on the substantive issues involved. [unintelligible: How do your positions differ from Barack Obama's?]

KEYES: The fundamental difference between Alan Keyes and Barack Obama is that Alan Keyes believes in people, and Barack Obama believes in the coercive power of government.

He thinks that the only way to solve our problems is to give more money to politicians and the bureaucrats controlled by them. And that's because, essentially, that kind of politics wants to build the powerbase of politicians.

I want to build the opportunities of the people.

I want to give them more control over their schools, with school choice, so that the money we spend on education follows the choice of the parents, not the choice of the educrats, and bureaucrats, and politicians.

I want to give them more control over their own income, so that we have a Fair Tax system that leaves them in control of their economic surplus--instead of giving it all to the government so that people don't have anything to save, and must live constantly under a burden of debt in order to meet the obligations and aspirations of their lives.

I want to restore a sense that we have confidence in the choices that can be made by our businesspeople--that we're not going to hike the fees and raise the regulations, while at the same time burdening them with the cost of litigation in the courts, because of profiteering trial lawyers. who have contributed great amounts to my opponent.

I think that these are the kinds of things that contrast a politics of principle and integrity with the politics of cynical ambition, deceit, and manipulation.

QUESTION: [unintelligible: Iraq]

KEYES: Oh, Iraq was an absolutely necessary step to protect our lives.

The fact that Barack Obama and people like this are lying to themselves or to the American people, pretending that terrorism will go away if we just shut our eyes--we're in the midst of an insidious war. Iraq was an integral part of the terrorist network. If the President had left any chance whatsoever that weapons of mass destruction could be placed in the hands of terrorists and used against people in Chicago, what kind of a chance do you think we ought to take? If it's only a 10% chance, do you think that the President should leave it? A 20% chance? A 40% chance? What game of Russian Rolette should he play with the lives of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people in the state of Illinois? The simple answer is, "No games at all."

We need to get the terrorists before they get us. We need to topple the governments that have been supporting them with money and with weapons and that might hand them weapons of mass destruction--and that's the courageous policy of leadership and safety that G.W. Bush has followed.

QUESTION: [unintelligible: Afghanistan and Iraq]

KEYES: Saddam Hussein was an integral part of the terrorist network. He funded the families of the suicide bombers that moved against people at the behest of the terrorists who support the Palestinian cause. And we do remember, don't we, that al-Qaeda's justification for the attack on September 11th was that it acted on behalf of the Palestinian cause?

The terrorist world is not a world of separate and discrete organizations. It is a world in which these organizations work together, cooperate, share funds, share training camps--and we have to deal with it on a realistic basis.

Because Barack Obama and John Kerry have so little experience of dealing with real national security problems--I sat on the National Security Council staff. I worked directly on the problem of terrorism. I therefore understand the threat that we're facing. And I know that people like Barack Obama, who pretend that we can afford to neglect the state sponsors of terrorism like Iraq, are acting out of ignorance. They are deluding themselves, and they would put the American people at great risk.

QUESTION: [unintelligible]

KEYES: In point of fact, I think the wonderful and tremendous response I'm seeing all over the state of Illinois--people who are coming forward, who have never been part of the political process before, who are working their hearts out in order to spread the message in their churches, in their synagogues, that a champion has come forward to speak for the heart, and the conscience, and the common sense of the people of Illinois, people are responding in great numbers.

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