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Keyes Joins GOP Field

Alan Keyes is back.

The socially conservative Republican, who has twice run for president in the past, has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to give it one more shot.

According to a statement posted at RenewAmerica, an activist group he chairs, Keyes has been "unmoved" by the other candidates' lack of moral courage. "The one thing I've always been called to do is to raise the standard . . . of our allegiance to God and His authority that has been the foundation stone of our nation's life," he said.

Keyes ran for the highest office in the land in 1996 and 2000, in between a trio of failed Senate runs in Maryland and Illinois. (The latter came against Barack Obama, whom he said Jesus Christ would not vote for.) He was State Department official under Ronald Reagan and has been a prominent media commentator, going back to his 1990s radio show "The Alan Keyes Show: America's Wake-Up Call."

It is unlikely, given the current political landscape, that Keyes will overtake the frontrunners in the crowded Republican field, storm to the GOP nomination, and take out the Democrat in the general election, something Keyes surely realizes. So what is his latest political foray all about? Perhaps it's as simple as name recognition and the opportunities it provides: After all, Mike Gravel wasn't exactly a household name this time last year, and now he's getting to expound on the Bush administration on national television.

If nothing else, Keyes' run could spice things up a bit: Like some other long-shot candidates, among them Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, Keyes is an excellent, sometimes-confrontational debater who is unafraid to make comments that might alienate certain members of the audience. He may or may not get much chance to use those skills, since it's far from a sure thing that Keyes will be invited to share the debate stage with the Republican frontrunners. But he is scheduled to participate in a debate with other long-shots tonight in Florida. So if you've been skipping the presidential debates because they're too boring for your tastes, this may be the night to tune in.

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