Sunday, April 27, 2008

Meet Chuck Baldwin, candidate for President of the United States

Constitution Party chooses talk-show host over Keyes for presidential nomination

By STEVE KRASKE The Kansas City Star

Meeting in Kansas City on Saturday, the Constitution Party tapped talk show host Chuck Baldwin over former ambassador Alan Keyes as its 2008 presidential nominee.

The pick was seen as something of an upset, given Keyes’ higher national profile. Known for his fiery stemwinders, Keyes is a two-time GOP presidential candidate who abandoned the Republican Party this month to join the Constitution Party, which stands for limited government and is committed to ending abortion and bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq.

But Baldwin’s roots in the Constitution Party run deeper. He was the party’s 2004 vice-presidential candidate, and party members said his stands were more in line with party thinking.

Still, the two waged a fierce battle in the days leading up to the vote, described as the most contentious in the party’s 16-year history. Baldwin wound up winning easily, 384-126. The Missouri and Kansas delegations basically split their votes between the two.

“They just rejected the most qualified man to be president,” said Tom Hoefling of Lohrville, Iowa, who is Keyes’ national political director. “Chuck Baldwin will have no impact on this election whatsoever.”

But Baldwin backers said the party was committed to remaining true to its values and growing itself from the inside. That approach will better sustain the party over the long run, said delegate Thom Holmes of Chandler, Okla., even though Keyes might have drawn more votes.

In his acceptance speech, Baldwin said his presidency would be committed to halting abortion and illegal immigration, the streamlining of the federal government, the tapping of oil reserves in Alaska that would lead to a return of $1.50-a-gallon gas prices and withdrawal from Iraq.

Baldwin pledged not only to pull out of the U.N., but also to push the international organization out of the country.

He said he would phase out the Internal Revenue Service and end the paying of personal income taxes. He said the country should return to the gold standard.

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