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WGN "News at 9" segment on Alan Keyes

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September 20, 2004



STEVE SANDERS, ANCHOR: Alan Keyes is by now well known for his controversial remarks to the media and his outspoken criticism of his opponent, Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

ALLISON PAYNE, ANCHOR: But along with all of that is a strong dedication to family, religion, and an uncompromising sense of principle, as I found out.

[begin clip]
ALAN KEYES, ILLINOIS U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: My class song from high school was "to dream the impossible dream." [sings]
[end clip]

PAYNE: He's a trained opera singer, a devout Catholic, and now a candidate for U.S. Senate. But his beginnings were far less dramatic.

Alan Keyes was born in New York in August 1950, the fifth child of a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and his mother a homemaker. A self-described army brat, Keyes spent much of his childhood overseas.

[begin clip]
KEYES: You go from place to place. You have to kind of uproot yourself, make new friends, be open to new experiences.
[end clip]

PAYNE: Keyes says his mother was essentially a single parent, since his father was away in the service most of the time. Both his parents were dedicated to Catholicism, which is the faith Keyes practices today.

[begin clip]
KEYES: You get up with prayer, and you go to bed with prayer, and you attend mass. It's, I don't know, it's hard to think about, because it's just part of the fabric.
[end clip]

PAYNE: The fabric of his life is woven with accomplishments. Keyes has a PhD from Harvard. He and his wife Jocelyn, whom he met while serving in the State Department in India, have three children. He's a former diplomat and Ambassador to the United Nations. He served in the Reagan Administration, and calls the former president a mentor.

[begin clip]
KEYES: I think he was somebody who was aware of the importance of sticking to our principles, and the extent to which that shapes the American identity, makes us decent people.
[end clip]

PAYNE: The man from Maryland has been speaking out quite a bit since joining the Senate campaign here in Illinois. He considers himself part of the moral right of the Republican Party. He opposes abortion, Affirmative Action, and gay rights. The fact that some of his views have alienated some top Illinois Republicans doesn't bother him.

[begin clip]
KEYES: They have, from the beginning, disagreed with me on vitally important issues, and obviously, the party exists in spite of some of those disagreements. I am pro-life. They are, to a person, I believe, pro-abortion. And that is a divide between different elements of the Republican Party.
[end clip]

PAYNE: And while he comes across as steadfastly hardcore, particularly when defending his politics, several times during our interview, Keyes became emotional. Recalling his own father's military service, Keyes reflected on the sacrifice of all Americans who served their country.

[begin clip]
KEYES: The enormous gifts that people are giving us when it is not just their bodies--we think of their bodies--it's their hearts, their souls that they are putting on the line when they defend this country.
[end clip]

PAYNE: Keyes' oldest son is following in his father's footsteps as a student at Harvard. His daughter has postponed starting at Brown University because she's helping with her father's campaign.

You know, Alan Keyes also got very emotional, really when reminiscing about his father. His father served in World War II, the Korean War, he did two tours of duty in Vietnam. Keyes was criticized [by those who] opposed the war in Vietnam, but he says he was supporting his father and his brothers, who were also fighting in that war.

SANDERS: One thing about Alan Keyes: no question about where he stands on the issues.

PAYNE: That's right. He will not bite his tongue.

SANDERS: That's right.

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