MR. SIEGEL: Senator Brownback is now a co-chair of the McCain campaign. He's also the head of Catholics for McCain and co-chairs his judicial advisory committee. And he joins us from Capitol Hill.
Welcome to the program once more.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you, Robert. Good to join you.
MR. SIEGEL: First the perennial hot button issue of abortion. Senator McCain said in 2000 that he'd come to the conclusion that the exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother are legitimate exceptions to an outright ban on abortions.
A year ago this past April, he told ABC News that he wanted to change the GOP's abortion plank in the platform to address and explicitly recognize those exceptions. But you recently said, "I don't think that's going to happen. I think you're going to see a platform process that's going to maintain that plank." Why?
SEN. BROWNBACK: Well, because that's a platform that the party itself has endorsed since 1980. It has been something that the part itself has fought for and at times even fought the presidential candidate. And I just don't see that that group within the Republican Party has weakened any during that period of time.
And in 2008, I think they will be equally strong, equally insistent. And I really don't think you're going to see the McCain team really fight or push back against that.
MR. SIEGEL: But what do you say when people who oppose those exceptions and support the platform as it's written, when they say, look, John McCain said he disagrees with that. He believes there should be exceptions to the ban on abortion?
SEN. BROWNBACK: Well, I think that's a legitimate position on both parts, but the platform represents the party and the candidate represents who they are. And often, those are not 100 percent lined up. Now, most of the time, they line up pretty significantly.
And I think, Robert, really, if you compare Barack Obama and John McCain on the issue of abortion, John McCain is where evangelical voters are. He is where the Republican Party is, where the majority of the country is.
MR. SIEGEL: As you understand it, has Senator McCain in any way changed his position about the exceptions to -- what he thinks the exceptions should be to a ban on abortion?
SEN. BROWNBACK: Not that I know of. He has not. He has stated that view of the positions of rape, incest, life of the mother exceptions and has not changed that.
MR. SIEGEL: Your assumption is that he's going to run with a platform that doesn't exactly express what he thinks about abortion.
SEN. BROWNBACK: On that issue and that's not unusual. I mean, a platform is a party document and often there are exceptions on how the candidate looks at it versus how the party looks at it. And particularly, when you've got somebody that's a maverick like John McCain, I think you're going to see several of those positions. And that's part of his appeal to independent voters and Democrat voters is he is a maverick conservative.
MR. SIEGEL: Senator McCain says he supports fetal tissue research. He says it's helped to make progress against Parkinson's disease.
What do you tell evangelicals who oppose all stem cell research?
SEN. BROWNBACK: I think you tell them the central issue here is the Supreme Court. And you can see that Barack Obama, who voted against John Roberts, voted against Samuel Alito is for an activist court. John McCain is for strict conservative -- excuse me -- a strict constructionist court. And that's the central issue on abortion is that activism and the view of the court.
MR. SIEGEL: That John McCain can be counted on to appoint the kind of justices who, say, might overturn Roe versus Wade.
SEN. BROWNBACK: That would be a possibility, but certainly with Barack Obama you're going to get Supreme Court justices that would seek to expand abortion rights.
MR. SIEGEL: More broadly, John McCain is a man who far from wearing is his faith on his sleeve, seems to keep it closer to his vest pocket, actually. This was typical of most politicians until the '70s or '80s. He doesn't talk a lot about religion.
Should he be talking more about his religion to warm up to Christian conservatives?
SEN. BROWNBACK: Well, I think he should, but not just as a way to warm up to Christian conservatives, but really to show the country more of his heart. And I think the country wants to see that, wants to understand that.
The thing about Senator McCain, he's a great war hero, a great American, but does generally come from more of a generation and a time -- as you said -- that doesn't talk about these issues that much.
MR. SIEGEL: Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, thank you very much for talking with us.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you, Robert.
MR. SIEGEL: Senator Brownback is a national co-chair of the McCain campaign.