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Press conference
Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick endorses Alan Keyes
October 14, 2004

Alan Keyes: It is my honor and privilege... to express my gratitude, my great satisfaction at having been able to spend time today with a friend and mentor, someone who was at one time both my boss at U.S. UN Mission but also someone from whom I think I learned all about both integrity and principle, and a sense of intellectual clarity in dealing with international relations and foreign affairs that was the most important formation for me in dealing with international relations, and I hope that thanks be to God, I have never lost my respect for that formation or my efforts to be true to it.

Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, I think, is well known to everyone from her tenure at the United Nations as being someone who stood up for this country's values and principles with clarity and integrity and who had a permanent impact on the respect that others had, not only at the United Nations, but in general, for the United States as a country that represents values and principles in the world that it is willing to stand and fight for, alongside its friends, like Israel and others, without apology.

So I have always been both proud and grateful, and I look back on that time in my life as the period in my career when I both learned the most in one sense but also had the greatest sense of satisfaction that I was making a positive contribution to the world following her leadership. So I'm glad that she's been able to join me today. We had a nice lunch and a little chat, and she would like to say a word or two.

Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick: Well, I would just say thank you, Alan. I'm obviously pleased to be here, I wouldn't be here if I hadn't wanted to come. I have a very high regard for Alan Keyes. And as someone with more than a casual interest in Illinois, I have been pleased by the fact that he is running for the Senate from the state of Illinois. You may not even know it, but I've lived in Illinois a good many years, I went through junior high and high school in Illinois. I should have worn today my Lincoln Laureate medal which I have been awarded for my Illinois connections.

Let me just say that I believe Alan is a very remarkable person. I know him very well because he did work for me for a number of years, not a lot of years, but over four years in fact, and you come to know someone well when you see them every day.

And we were always under fire with the UN in those days. This was in the depths of the Cold War of course, and the Soviet Union was, to say, in an assertive mode, constantly in an assertive mode. But we did, as Alan has indicated, forge some good strong bonds from having survived all the challenges with which the United States was almost continually confronted, in the UN, in those days.

Someone was reminding me just a few days ago about KAL 007, which you may recall was shot out of the sky by the Soviets, who then lied about it. And when I think about that, I think that reflected their level of moral seriousness, you might say -- because that was just simply lying, and then lying again. The United States, under Ronald Reagan, did try very hard to do our work seriously and well, and to always tell the truth.

Alan is a principled man of a lot of integrity. He's a brilliant political scientist -- and I speak as someone who has been a political science professor for thirty years, and so I know political science competence when I see it. When you've graded that many papers for that many years you know the difference between somebody who knows what they're saying and somebody who doesn't. Alan is very, very well informed in political science quite specifically -- he could enter almost any classroom and illuminate it, but especially in political science. I wish him all the best in this race, in part because to me it is the best outcome, but also because I wish the state of Illinois "the best." So win, Alan!

Keyes: We'd be glad to take any questions.

Press: Is it fair to say Ambassador that you're endorsing Alan Keyes here?

Kirkpatrick: Oh sure, I think I already have, didn't I -- but I'm not sure you...

Press: Your protégé, your protégé is controversial, some say inflammatory --

Kirkpatrick: Some say what?

Press: Inflammatory. Is this an asset or a liability [unintelligible]?

Kirkpatrick: Well, inflammatory is not an asset, but I don't think Alan is inflammatory -- I think he's serious, you know, I think he's quite serious and quite well informed and very articulate. Those are assets.

Press: Why do you think he hasn't really caught on here in the polls? He insists the polls aren't accurate, but the polls show him anywhere between 40 to 50 points behind Barack Obama. What do you think is wrong?

Kirkpatrick: Well, I think there are two reasons, two reasons that would at least significantly illuminate part of the reason for that. One is that Barack Obama is much, much, much better known than Alan in significant measure because of his role at the Democratic Convention. He gave a very good speech, and if you give a very good convention speech, you get a lot of publicity. I did it myself, and that publicity lasts for quite a while, as a matter of fact. And second, Barack Obama is a Democrat, and as a Democrat he's going to get better press from you gentlemen, that's a fact of life here. We talked a little bit about it at lunch today, the problem of our media, and it's a big problem.

Press: In Illinois or across the country?

Kirkpatrick: I think it's a problem across the country -- not across the world, but across the country, yes.

Press: How are we not covering Alan Keyes fairly?

Kirkpatrick: I don't know how you're covering Alan Keyes. I just assume you're not covering him fairly.


Keyes: I think there are, remarkably, always fresh examples.

The other day, I had a debate with Barack Obama, and we talked about health issues and I was asked a question about healthcare, gave a comprehensive response that addressed the different elements of the healthcare costs and the crisis and what we need to do about it. I also pointed out, as is now the case, there was a Wall Street Journal article just yesterday talking about how companies are now having to take steps to get people to take seriously what they need to do with their diet and exercise in order to reduce the incidence of sickness, so they can bring their healthcare costs down, an element that I have always addressed because it's common sense -- it would deal with, in part, the problem of spiraling costs. The AP goes through Barack Obama's spending plans as if he's talking seriously about the issue, which he is not, and then gives short shrift to what I said by saying, "Alan Keyes said the way to deal with healthcare crisis is to diet and exercise."

That is so... that is a lie, that is not what I said. It's not even a misrepresentation, it is just a biased and partisan and irresponsible lie about the answer that I gave on healthcare. And yet that passes for journalism now? Come on y'all.

I think that things are so blatant that, for instance, if I were to press the point when someone has said, "Well, you've been described as inflammatory" -- I've been described as many things. Folks have described me as an "Uncle Tom," somebody described me as a "Little Black Sambo" the other day, and so forth. But who asks about these inflammatory remarks by folks on the other side? Nobody.

But on the other hand, when I make statements that are simply the result of clear reasoning and argument about issues, an adjective is applied to them that if I asked you to justify it, you would be unable to do so. You can cite nothing that I have said in this race that would correspond to the description "inflammatory." It is simply a misrepresentation. Why is it picked up on, why is it used? Because you all are biased against folks like myself and treat us unfairly.

Kirkpatrick: I want to say something. I want to know if, in this debate, you discussed foreign affairs?

Keyes: Oh yes, quite a bit, for about fifteen minutes.

Kirkpatrick: Because I would suppose that's one difference between Alan as the Ambassador he was, as compared with Barack Obama, because Alan has very substantial knowledge as well as experience with international affairs, which in the Senate ought to be a useful asset.

Press: Ambassador, can you give us some examples of things that you think were groundbreaking that Mr. Keyes did while he was at the United Nations, some of the things that were very important to the United States?

Kirkpatrick: Well, he didn't operate at the UN as a Lone Ranger, first of all, we were all, the five us, we were all representing the U.S. policy, above all President Reagan's policy, and doing our best to articulate and defend, and Alan was -- no one would say he's not articulate, they may say that he's controversial, or whatever you said, I've forgotten what silliness, but no one has ever suggested he wasn't articulate, because he's one of the most articulate people I know.

And he's very articulate about international affairs, quite specifically. He knows how to talk about international affairs, and that was very useful to the U.S., of course -- the combination of those. He did a very good job, and it was a great pleasure to have him there, and it's a pleasure for me to be here. [turns to Keyes] -- I don't think you ought to argue with these people, Alan. This is not -- [laughter] -- just let them make their charges and then you can set them straight. [to the press] It's nice to be with you. Good day.

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