Republican Brownback Explores White House Bid
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
A dissenting view of Iraq from that of the Iraq Study Group comes today from a Republican senator who this week formed an exploratory committee to run for president - Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. Welcome to the program, Senator Brownback.
Senator SAM BROWNBACK (Republican, Kansas): Pleasure to join you.
SIEGEL: You have said that for Iraq to achieve equilibrium, it may have to experience partition. What do you mean by that?
Senator BROWNBACK: Well, I don't see it as partition, but within the Iraqi constitution they provide for three dominant regions - one by the Kurds, one by the Sunnis and one by the Shiites. And I think for us to get to a political equilibrium where you can maintain the situation without an extensive military apparatus sitting on top of it, I think you're going to have to look to some form of political equilibrium. I think that may end up looking like three separate regions within one federated Iraq.
SIEGEL: I'd like to ask you about some other things, because you're now exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination. Over the weeks we'll talk with all the folks who are pursuing the major party nominations. You're identified with Christian conservatives, pro-life, against embryonic stem cell research. To what extent are you going to run on those social or moral issues?
Senator BROWNBACK: I'm going to put them out there and forward, aggressively. I am pro-life and I believe in life. I believe in a culture of life and I think it's important for us as a society to talk about it in a very positive tone. But those aren't exclusively the issues I'll talk about.
I'm also going to talk about cancer and what we can do to end deaths by cancer. I'm going to talk about energy and our needs to be able to expand our domestic production of energy and get independent of the Middle East in 15 years. But I will not avoid the difficult ones, the ones of life and marriage.
SIEGEL: But one reading of the 2006 election is that if Republicans lose the hearts, minds and votes of moderate, independent Americans, they lose elections. And some of the positions you've taken might alienate those very important moderate swing voters. True?
Senator BROWNBACK: False. We lost the election off of the war and corruption. Our ideas weren't repudiated, but our lack of execution on them was. We've been moving, growing as a party really since 1980, when we first started embracing some of these more difficult issues.
And Robert, they're hard to talk about, but we really do need to rebuild the family and renew the culture. And these are at the core for a lot of people in this country.
SIEGEL: What's your message going to be to voters in blue states, as they say -in California or in Massachusetts, for that matter - and how politics that may play well in Kansas might seem too socially conservative to carry the day there?
Senator BROWNBACK: Well, Robert, I find most people embrace the concept of a culture of life that celebrates life. And that issues like marriage being between the union of a man and a woman is a key social institution around which countries have built families for thousands of years and it's a vast social experiment to redefine the institution.
I think those are uniting issues. What I need to do and I think we need to have as a country is a civil dialogue about how do we rebuild and infuse new energy into families and family formation.
SIEGEL: Well, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, Republican, now having formed an exploratory committee for a run for the presidential nomination, thanks a lot for talking with us.
Senator BROWNBACK: Thank you, Robert.
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