FREDERICK -- Oliver L. North lauded U.S. Senate candidate Alan L. Keyes and denounced the press here last night before 500 Republicans.
The Sun reported this week that Mr. Keyes has been drawing $8,500 a month in salary from his campaign fund.
Mr. Keyes set the tone for Mr. North's remarks during his introduction of the retired Marine lieutenant colonel and former White House aide whose conviction in the Iran-contra scandal was overturned.
The Sun does not know the difference between a free man and a slave, Mr. Keyes said about the salary flap. "What is at stake is my home, my family, my car. My supporters very well understand that I have to eat and house my family," he said.
Eventually the news media "will come in for the judgment it so richly deserves," Mr. Keyes said, describing members of the press as sharks who will not tell the public the truth about the Democratic Party.
Mr. North, who received a standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd at Frederick County's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, picked up the theme. He told his audience not to pay attention to "jackals and sharks" in the news media who "invade our privacy and defame our reputations."
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is campaigning at a salary of $10,000 a month provided by the taxpayers, he said. "If only Alan had been a congressman, he wouldn't have had to take the $8,500. He could have simply bounced a check," Mr. North said.
Mr. North said the election of Mr. Keyes and 6th District congressional candidate Roscoe Bartlett would "throw off the yoke of a one-party system" and help crumble the "permanent political aristocracy we have become so inured to."
Mr. Keyes and Mr. Bartlett are not politicians, he said. "Politicians have been running things and they have been running them amok. I would hope you would choose now to restore a two-party system and a resurgence of the real values that Abraham Lincoln believed in."
What most Americans want, Mr. North said, is not what government offers but "an opportunity they themselves have been able to achieve -- a decent wage for a decent day's work."
"The effectiveness of government is not measured by how many people it helps, but how many people no longer need its help," he said. "We the people aren't being well served by what we have. We are suffering under onerous regulations and taxation at every level. This was not what our forefathers had in mind."
Mr. North said he believes that Mr. Keyes and Mr. Bartlett, like the biblical prophet Nehemiah, are the kinds of traditional family people who will help the nation rebuild a wall of morality and integrity.
"These two gentlemen are the kinds of people we want representing us," Mr. North said. "If we fail to find enough good men like these, we will forfeit the future. What we do in this election will not set the course for the next four or six years, it's going to set the agenda for next millennia. . . . We need to protect our godly people from government -- not our government from godly people."
About 80 people paid $100 each to attend a reception for Mr. Keyes before the dinner. Sean Paige, Mr. Keyes' campaign manager, said people at the reception here as well as elsewhere in the state have been "very supportive" of the candidate following the disclosure of his campaign salary.
"In the last two days, we've averaged 12 calls a day -- two are the traditional non-supporters, two or three wanted to offer money, and the rest were concerned but supportive," Mr. Paige said. "They felt they have not been getting the full story."
"People don't mind supporting Alan," he said. "They know they are investing in a crusade for the future of the country when they are investing in Alan Keyes. People are coming to realize the power of incumbency and what it takes for a regular guy like Alan Keyes to run. He is not a millionaire and is not sitting on a mountain of patronage."