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Oct-03-2007 17:10printcomments

Keyes Excluded from Michigan Presidential Debate

Michigan conservative leaders say they are appalled at his exclusion from the October 9th event.

Dr. Alan Keyes
Dr. Alan Keyes

(DES MOINES, Iowa) - In the wake of the exclusion of presidential candidate Alan Keyes from next week’s Dearborn, Michigan, Presidential Debate, conservative leaders in the Wolverine State today criticized Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, whose neutrality in the presidential race has been repeatedly called into question.

“I think it is shameful that someone with Dr. Alan Keyes’ experience in government and credentials in the conservative movement is being kept out of the debate,” said Judy Zabik, Genesee County Republican Party Board member. “Voters in Michigan and across the country deserve to hear what this man has to say about where this country is and where it’s going. He brings a principled, moral perspective to this race that nobody else brings.”

When Keyes officially entered the presidential race on September 14th, Michigan’s newly-created September 11th deadline for inclusion on the party’s list of recognized candidates submitted to the Secretary of State had already expired.

Keyes supporters across the state have begun to gather the 11,569 signatures that are needed to assure that his name will appear on the GOP primary ballot. Under Michigan law, they have until October 23rd to complete the process.

However, the state party used inclusion on the September 11th list as the criterion for participation in Tuesday’s debate, which is being co-sponsored by the state party, CNBC, MSNBC, and the Wall Street Journal. Keyes supporters argue the party made an arbitrary rule that was impossible for Keyes or his people to meet – one with no connection to the former Reagan U.N. Ambassador’s ability to qualify for the ballot.

Dr. Levon Yuille, Chairman of the Michigan Black Republican Council, said, “I’m appalled that the Party of Lincoln would not include a man of Dr. Keyes’ stature as part of the upcoming debate, at a time when my party is being accused of being insensitive to the black community. I think we would give our enemy an unnecessary issue that we don’t need in this election. President Bush has made a concerted effort to reach out to the black community, and hopefully the Michigan Republican Party would reflect this concern and do the right thing.”

Yuille added, “Alan Keyes has been a stalwart national leader on a broad range of pro-life, pro-family issues for many years. He’s also extremely knowledgeable in the areas of national defense, foreign policy, and economics. This debate is supposed to be about economics, I’m told. I hope the state party will reconsider their decision and invite Dr. Keyes to participate. The perception by many that he is being kept out because of the partisan wishes of the state party leadership is very real.”

Ambassador Keyes, the only African-American in the Republican presidential field, participated Sept. 27 in Tavis Smiley’s PBS “All-American Presidential Forum” debate in Baltimore, Maryland, and in the “Values Voter” debate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 17th.

During the Baltimore debate, which centered on issues of concern to the black community, Keyes commented that those Republican candidates who failed to attend “didn’t show up at the Values Voter Debate, either--which, of course, sent a very negative message to the people who are interested in the issues that were discussed there.”

This week, Ambassador Keyes expanded on those remarks by commenting that "some Republican leaders obviously don't seem beholden to the people. To serve their own ambitions, they disregard the people’s right to hear from all the candidates before choosing the Republican standard bearer. It's a question of the integrity and the openness of the political process. How can people make the best choice for America if they are not even allowed to consider it?"

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zeek October 8, 2007 7:56 pm (Pacific time)

I like Mr. Keyes and enjoy hearing him speak, but either he was out gunned, (strategized) or he did get his stuff together in time. He has ran for president before, and he suggested he would run months ago. (simply poor admistering skills) This is not a good reflection on an other wise brilliant man.

tom October 8, 2007 5:42 pm (Pacific time)

the only reason Keyes got into this race is to divide up the pro-life, conservative vote. He never does the work req'd to actually be a serious contender, like in 1999 when he split up the conservative vote. I think he does this for his old college roommate Kristol.

Lee Mason October 4, 2007 8:18 am (Pacific time)

Alan Keyes vastly overates himself. He stands about as much chance as I do !. Will we soon have every citizen in the debates?

Richard October 4, 2007 7:29 am (Pacific time)

This is a no-win situation. In fairness, only those candidates who are recognized by the Secretary of State should be allowed in the debate. There's plenty of debates left for others to join in. I would change the deadline date for recognition to the date of the debate, and consider this a fair and balanced compromise. I do wish Keys would participate, and am currently leaning towards voting for him (too early to lock in any vote). Having said that, rules are there to make a level playing field, as long as they are fair rules.

Janet October 3, 2007 10:51 pm (Pacific time)

It is always nice to hear all points of view....but why again didn't they make the list? They may have missed a deadline and that may be their own fault.

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