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Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 11:56 GMT
Alan Keyes: Republican orator

Alan Keyes battled with Gary Bauer for the right wing of the Republican movement.

Both men dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination in March.

Keyes was always viewed as an unlikely candidate for president. He is a social conservative who is passionately against abortion and attacks front runners for selling out the party's principles to win the middle ground.


The people of this country have gotten over their racial sickness. I don't know if you folks have

Alan Keyes to reporters
While he has twice stood for the Senate and once for the presidency, the highest office Alan Keyes has held was as a US ambassador to the United Nations' social and economic affairs council.

A committed Roman Catholic, Keyes says that America is suffering moral decay because of a lack of faith in God.

While he is an African-American in a party dominated by white protestants, Keyes opposes affirmative action, but criticises the party for ignoring the black vote.

He proposed ending welfare and wanted to see private enterprise used to tackle urban poverty.

His other policies included maintaining the right to bear arms, eliminating income tax and making abortion illegal.

But his campaign ran into early trouble and he complained that the media have ignored his campaign because he does not fit their stereotype of a "black man". He has rarely broke through more than 2% support in polls.

Campaign finance statements in September 1999 showed that he has only $134,000 in the bank compared to George W Bush's $37m.

Talented speaker

His supporters say that the Republican Party has made poor use of one of its greatest assets.

Many have described him as one of their most talented public speakers, able to take an audience with him as he sets out his conservative values with an almost religious zeal.

Speaking following a debate in New Hampshire, Keyes said: that the polls "don't reflect the dam that's going to break when all my supporters out there realise I can win."

Alan Keyes grew up in Italy and around the US as his army officer father travelled with the military.

He took a PhD at Harvard and joined the State Department, and has worked as a talk show host.

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