Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback says he’s a "bleeding heart" conservative who’s never flip-flopped on the key issues that are important to conservatives in his party.
"I am pro-life and whole-life and these have been consistent messages for me," Brownback says. "I think elections are about ideas and choices and we’re laying those out for people."
Brownback is calling himself the "conservative alternative" to rivals like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. "He’s changed on a number of these issues over a period of time and at different times and I’m laying out a consistent message to individuals," Brownback says. "I think people should know what is there, what is different, where I have been on these issues and the choice people have to make."
Romney used to say that while he was personally opposed to abortion, he was against having the government impose new restrictions on abortion. During his presidential campaign appearances in Iowa, Romney has been telling audiences his mind was changed during the debate over stem cells and he’s now a "pro-life" politician.
Brownback has also criticized another presidential hopeful — Tom Tancredo, a Colorado congressman — for accepting donations from a person who is also a donor to Planned Parenthood. "The differences should be pointed out. I mean, campaigns are about issues and differences and then choices," Brownback says. "I think that’s fully legitimate to talk about."
Brownback is counting on a better-than-expected finish in next month’s Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll to buoy his candidacy. "The national media has put a ceiling on who they will cover and I haven’t cracked through that ceiling yet," Brownback says. "…Until you get through that, it’s pretty tough (to get a) large quantity of contributors in on fundraising."
Brownback is campaigning in Iowa this week and on Friday he’ll be joined at campaign stops by the brother of Terri Schiavo, the woman whose parents and husband fought for years about removing her from life support.
Brownback is a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He took the senate seat Bob Dole gave up to run for president in 1996.