Brownback Stumps for McCain, but Does it Help?
By Juliet Eilperin
WICHITA -- Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) is trying to help Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) become president. Whether he's helping -- that's another question altogether.
During a rally today here, Brownback -- a self-described "recovering lawyer" -- told voters they need to "examine the facts" when it comes to judging McCain's conservative record. Also of interest, however, is an examination of the facts of Brownback's work on behalf of his colleague's candidacy:
- Brownback, who came in third in an Iowa straw poll in the summer of 2007, worked to get out the vote for McCain in the Hawkeye State. McCain came in fourth in the Iowa caucuses, just behind former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, whose lackluster campaigning led to him ending his presidential bid last month.
- After McCain scored his first major primary win in New Hampshire, Brownback headed to Michigan to help out his friend in a state he won while running for president in 2000. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defeated McCain by a comfortable margin.
- In the run up to Super Tuesday, McCain dispatched the Kansan to North Dakota and Montana to marshal support among caucusgoers there. Romney won both states handily.
- Introducing McCain at today's rally, Brownback extolled his friend's many conservative virtues. But he wrapped up his appeal by saying, "Now he's not a perfect candidate with a perfect record. There's not a perfect candidate in the field -- at least, since I left." (Granted, he was sort of making a joke, and he told the audience to vote for McCain even if casting a few Brownback votes would make his mother happy.)
Perhaps all this evidence helps explain why Brownback himself remains unsure whether McCain will be able to defeat former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in Saturday's caucus here.
"He hasn't been doing well in caucuses," Brownback told reporters aboard McCain's campaign plane. "Plus, in every state we've sent me to, we've lost. So if this is a loss, it's my fault."
McCain -- who is notoriously superstitious -- did not appear concerned about Brownback's track record when asked about it yesterday. After reporters informed McCain of his colleague's losing streak, the presidential candidate just laughed, and headed out to meet the Kansas voters. After all, he hopes they will reward him tomorrow for all of Brownback's hard work.
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