A day after jumping into the Illinois U.S. Senate race, two-time presidential hopeful Alan Keyes verbally bashed gays and ripped into Democratic rival Barack Obama, saying his views on abortion are "the slaveholder's position."
The conservative former diplomat said Obama's vote against a bill that would have outlawed a form of late-term abortion denied unborn children their equal rights. Both candidates--one an outspoken conservative and the other a favorite of party liberals--are black. "I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence," Keyes said. He said Obama "has broken and rejected those principles--he has taken the slaveholder's position."
Obama, who has been basking in national celebrity since delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, suggested Keyes is outside the moderate mainstream of state Republicans. Asked specifically about the phrase "slaveholder's position," Obama said Keyes "should look to members of his own party to see if that's appropriate if he's going to use that kind of language."
Keyes also defended his belief that gay marriage is wrong, brushing aside a suggestion from an interviewer that sexual orientation might be biologically determined. "We as human beings cannot assert that our sexual desires cannot be controlled," Keyes said. He said such a claim would "consign us to the realm of instinctual animal nature--and we are not there."
Keyes, who is from Maryland and has lost two Senate races in that state, on Sunday accepted the GOP nomination to replace primary winner Jack Ryan, who dropped out of the race in June over embarrassing sex allegations. Under federal law, Keyes has until Election Day to establish Illinois residency. Monday afternoon the State Board of Elections officially listed Keyes as the GOP candidate, and his campaign listed Calumet City, in Chicago's southern suburbs, as his new Illinois home.