Candidate Says Message Is Key Long-Shot Gop Candidate’s Strong Speaking Skills Have Helped Him Do Well In Polls

Alan Keyes is not daunted by his lack of money or name recognition as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

The person the GOP picks to run against Bill Clinton does not need the acceptance of the media or the money of the power brokers, he said.

“You need a message that will move the hearts of the members of the Republican Party,” Keyes said Wednesday afternoon before addressing about 125 local GOP activists in downtown Spokane.

The former ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council had a conservative social message that resonated with many at the luncheon.

The nation, he said, faces a moral crisis because the government is “destroying families.”

Welfare rules encourage the break-up of two parent families, he contended. Keyes would get the government out of welfare, and turn over responsibility for aiding the poor to local churches and private organizations.

Education policies that promote sex education and “outcomebased” programs cause character deformation, he said. Parents should be able to use their education tax dollars at private schools if they wish.

He opposes the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization as “a deep-dyed betrayal of America’s foreign interests.”

He opposes affirmative action. “You can’t use discrimination to eliminate discrimination.”

The only black Republican seeking the nomination, Keyes, 44, insisted his campaign is not about race. “I am not a black candidate running for black votes.”

He opposes the use of U.S. troops for United Nations missions. “There is no peace to keep in Bosnia. Get the peacekeepers out until there is.”

He would spend more money on defense, but keep American troops out of most foreign entanglements. “We cannot take responsibility for every evil, solve everybody’s problems.”

Keyes heads a group called Citizens Against Government Waste, hosts his own radio talk show and sometimes is a guest on television panel discussions. He had harsh words for GOP front-runners, saying that Sens. Bob Dole of Kansas and Phil Gramm of Texas are incapable of addressing important moral issues.

But he saved his harshest comments for Clinton, whom he called “an insanely incompetent man.”

Since Keyes announced his candidacy in March, the former State Department official has been labeled obscure and a long-shot. But his strong speaking skills have consistently won him supporters at gatherings of conservative Republicans around the country.

While he hasn’t finished first in any straw polls of Republican groups, he often fares better than better-known candidates.

“It shows that the people who think they know so much don’t know a thing,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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