Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keyes places 3rd in Utah Republican Assembly group’s straw poll

Alan Keyes came in third in a presidential straw poll conducted Tuesday by the St. George unit of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. Ron Paul led the balloting, followed by Mitt Romney.

Filling out the field were John McCain, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani.

The local conservative organization — which calls itself the Dixie Republican Forum, taking its name from the southern-most region of Utah — invited representatives of all the major GOP candidates to address a luncheon held in the St. George Holiday Inn.

Speaking on behalf of Alan Keyes was Stephen Stone, CEO of Alan Keyes for President, who distributed an 8-page newspaper-style pamphlet to attendees who filled a dining hall. Candidates' representatives were asked to speak on foreign policy, taxation, and domestic issues.

Stone remarked that Ambassador Keyes is the only 2008 presidential candidate who has any firsthand foreign policy background, and he noted that Keyes was Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, served on the National Security Council staff, and had responsibilities that included counter-terrorism.

Stone added that Keyes considers the war on terror not just a political or national security challenge, but a moral issue as well — and said that Keyes has wondered publicly whether Americans have the moral backbone to endure the long-term threat posed by terrorism.

He emphasized that Keyes bases his political thinking on the premises and principles in the Declaration of Independence, which he said are centered in religious ideals that require moral commitment.

The Keyes spokesman added that the former ambassador has been unwavering in his public positions for decades, and that Keyes has long been an outspoken leader in bedrock conservative causes — including the pro-life movement, the national effort to replace the income tax with a national sales tax, protection of traditional marriage, and border security.

Concerning the latter issue, Stone said Keyes proposes the creation of a National Border Guard, similar to the Coast Guard, to secure America's borders.

At the end of his remarks, Stone commented on Keyes' view of Mitt Romney's role in establishing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and said that as governor, Romney "instituted gay marriage entirely on his own, without authority or requirement to do so." Stone invited the conservative audience to research the truth of the matter in the public record. He said he, himself, was "greatly disturbed" by Romney's role in Massachusetts' gay marriage policy.

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