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Keyes stakes presidential bid on moral wake-up call

Two-time contender Alan Keyes rails against abortion - and America's

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Don't ask Alan Keyes, two-time candidate for the presidency, why his message isn't catching on - unless you want a really long answer.

You'll likely be peppered by an attack on the question itself - why it has no factual basis, why it's racist, and how he can't believe after all these years reporters still get away with asking it.

After years spent on the outer edge of the spotlight, first as a Reagan administration official and then as a Republican presidential candidate, it's true Mr. Keyes is not at the very bottom. He's doing better this cycle than Angel Joy Chavis Rocker and Sam Berry, and even the better-known Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Despite his long-shot status, the optimistic Keyes is steely in his conviction that he'd be a strong moral leader and a great president.

And if you think Arizona Sen. John McCain has a temper, tread lightly around Keyes, particularly concerning questions about the viability of his candidacy.

"I get overwhelmingly positive response [with in-person campaigning]," he said during an early-morning phone conversation. "I don't know why you ask a question like that. It's racist stereotyping; it's not right. It's a definite form of racism."

Make no mistake, the Harvard PhD's fiery words are not uncontrolled, born of a struggling campaign. Rather, his anger - like his public-speaking style - seems considered and measured.

Indeed, Keyes's mastery of oratory now allows him to make much of his living on the speaker's circuit. Like other motivational speakers, such as Zig Ziglar and Jesse Jackson, Keyes is commanding in his ability to address a crowd - either in person or via his now-ended radio broadcast, "The Alan Keyes Show: America's Wake Up Call."

His speeches usually begin softly, forcing listeners to lean forward to hear. Then he slowly turns up the volume until it reaches the level of a Baptist tent revivalist, searing his words into the ears of his audience.

Defining right from wrong

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