Washington (CNSNews.com) - Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes blasted rival John McCain on the abortion issue Monday, saying that anyone who votes for the Arizona senator "betrays" the pro-life position.
"John McCain is not pro life," said Keyes, who's criticized McCain's abortion position in the past. "Anyone who votes for John McCain betrays the pro-life proponents."
Keyes took a break from his South Carolina Republican primary campaign Monday to tell reporters at a Washington, DC news conference that he's not buying McCain's position on abortion.
The former ambassador referred to an earlier, theoretical question in which McCain was asked how he would respond to the question of whether a daughter of his should have an abortion. McCain did not say that he would tell his daughter to carry the baby to term.
"If he's going to give a pro-abortion, pro-choice answer to his daughter, he has given that answer to the rest of the country," said Keyes, who spoke at the National Press Club with no notes and no prepared text.
"In his heart, John McCain is not pro-life. I can hear what he says to his children, and unless he is some kind of unnatural parent, what we say to our children reflects the deep seated conviction in our heart," said Keyes.
McCain has twice voted to override President Bill Clinton's veto of a bill that would have ended partial birth abortions. He also voted in favor of a law that would have prevented family planning clinics that receive federal funding from counseling women on abortion.
Keyes also criticized the Clinton Administration's handling of national security issues and warned that Republicans have an uphill battle in the November elections because of what he called a "moral crisis" in the United States.
Following his stop in Washington, Keyes said he was headed to South Carolina to continue his campaign for that state's GOP primary, scheduled for February 19. Keyes received six percent of the vote in the New Hampshire Republican primary last week and 14 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses last month.
(more to follow)