Des Moines Register: Brownback touts himself as 'whole-life' candidate
By GRANT SCHULTE
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback reiterated his campaign pledge Monday to break Iraq into three states, separating each warring faction, and carry his adamant anti-abortion beliefs to the White House if elected.
The Kansas Republican stumped through Sioux City, Johnston and Des Moines, touting himself as a "bleeding-heart conservative" who would be "pro-life, but whole-life" - viewing genocide in Darfur as just as great a tragedy as abortion.
"You don't stop" with abortion, Brownback told a crowd of 30 at the Coffee Company in Johnston. A broader culture-of-life stance among anti-abortionists, he said, should include efforts to stop mass murder abroad and other atrocities. "I think it draws people into the pro-life message."
Brownback has campaigned heavily on outlawing abortion, arguing that his belief - against abortions, with exception only for a mother whose life is endangered - leaves him best suited for the GOP's presidential nomination.
On Iraq, Brownback said he would divide the country into three separate states - for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds - with Baghdad as the federal capital.
"I think we've got to be there for some time," he said. "But I don't think we've got a political solution that's working."
Brownback's remarks came as his campaign prepares for the GOP straw poll Aug. 11 in Ames. Brownback announced last week that he would still compete in the poll, even though two presumed front-runners - former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain - decided to withdraw. Opting to stay in could increase his visibility within the party.
Brownback's abortion stance has ranked him among the top of the GOP presidential candidates when it comes to right-to-life issues because he has proposed legislation of his own instead of merely supporting such bills, said Kim Lehman, president of the Iowa Right to Life Committee.
Kathy Wilford, a Winterset Republican leaning toward Brownback, said the Kansas senator was "far and away the best candidate" she had seen so far.
"I love that he's pro-life and pro-marriage, and I love his idea of a three-state Iraq," Wilford said. "On Iraq, we're jumping into a 2,000-year-old battle. Really, what are we going to do about that?"