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Brownback as Dark Horse?

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) hopped out of a black SUV as the clock struck twelve noon today to visit supporters at his campaign headquarters.

Brownback was dressed for campaigning in a blue short sleeve shirt and tan slacks. (The Fix -- in a coat and tie -- was not, a fact Brownback noted wryly.)

Before ducking into a closed press lunch, Brownback predicted that a surprise candidate or two would emerge from this weekend's Ames Straw poll -- a contest on which he has spent considerable time and resources. [Watch the Video of our short conversation below.]

"Our side of the aisle is set for a darkhorse candidate," said Brownback. "This is a chance for the darkhorse candidate to emerge."

Even Brownback's rivals in the Straw Poll acknowledge he has built a strong organization in the runup to Ames, although some question whether that organization is gaining or losing momentum of late.

Regardless, Ames is a major messaging and organizational test for Brownback. His profile as a Senator representing a major agriculture state in the middle of America has obvious appeal to Iowans, and his strong social conservative message should be in line with those most likely to turn out in the 90+ degree heat to cast a straw ballot vote.

Brownback believes the eight years of the Bush Administration has made Republican voters leery of signing up with any of the candidates too quickly this time around. Voters are saying "'Let's let the candidates run for a while because there isn't a clear frontrunner,'" according to Brownback.

One other Brownback note: He wins for best Straw Poll paraphernalia we've seen since arriving: rubber wrist bands (ala the "Live Strong" bracelet) that bear the words: "Brownback. Ames, IA 8/11/07". They come in red, white and blue (of course) and our personal favorite, brown.

VIDEO | Sen. Sam Brownback Talks Straw Poll Strategy

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 9, 2007; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Clowns, Politicians Parade in Iowa


If he got porn money he can't be all bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 10, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I find it ironic that Brownback portrays himself as more holy than the other candidates. Brownback is a deceptive dishonest politican who received huge sums of "dirty money" from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff (currently in prison). It was Brownback who received $17,000 from pornography groups.

Brownback's relationship with the Tahirih Justice Center, a Non Government Organization in Falls Church, Va. remains under a cloud of mystery and suspicion. He claims to be pro-life yet he was the key speaker at the annual fundraiser for the Tahirih Justice Center, which is a radical Iranian religious extremist feminist group based in America with a very strong pro-abortion/anti-family/anti-Christian agenda.

Brownback who claims to be pro marriage worked in secret with Tahirih Justice Center sponsoring the International Marriage Broker Regulation act, an unconstitutional law that requires a background check in order for American matchmaking clients to communicate with a foreigner.

On January 27, 2007 Brownback and Tahirih Justice Center manipulated Radio Vatican with a one sided radical feminist broadcast with shocking lies and hysterical anecdotes. They slandered Americans who date foreigners as " often sexual predators, rapists or even pedophiles...many are premeditated torturers". Two days after the broadcast began Radio Vatican scratched the broadcast after learning of numerous inaccuracies and false hysteria.

If Senator Brownback was willing to deceive the Vatican one wonders how much he is trying to deceive the public and media during his presidential campaign.

Posted by: Dave Root | August 9, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP--Yep, the Internet has been aflame with that since yesterday.

The current speculation is that the neurological effects are making Bush stupid but I am not sure since he was pretty dim to start with and, specifically, the neurological effects in Lyme are mostly motoric/sensory.

Posted by: roo | August 9, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

This just in....President Bush was treated for Lyme disease sometime last year, according to reports now released. Good thing Cheney didn't see that target-shaped rash.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | August 9, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

And bhoomes, not all Democrats would name Hillary as their first, second, or even third choice. I for one hope not to have to vote for her.

Posted by: Bokonon | August 9, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The GOP does NOT need a "dark horse" social conservative - that would put the match to the paper? or maybe I'm wrong... but the last thing we need at a time of economic and foreign policy uncertainty is a candidate who will give the US - in which a majority approve of abortion being available (at least under certain conditions), civil unions, recycling, conservation, negotiation with rival nations - a conservative Christian social agenda supported only by a minority, albeit an extremely vocal and insistent minority.
And what else does Brownback stand for?

Posted by: Bokonon | August 9, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh God, please. PLEASE let the GOP nominate one of their craziest members as their presidential candidate. We need a landslide in 08.

Posted by: Greg in LA | August 9, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes doesn't tell the whole story about Illinois, which is that Kennedy simply stole more votes in Chicago than Nixon could steal downstate. That's why Nixon didn't bother with a recount.

Illinois has a 100-year tradition of bipartisan corruption.

And Texas stolen in 1960? You've got your facts wrong. Now West Virginia, I'd look there.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 9, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes, Illinois was almost certainly stolen in 1960, and the best thing RMN ever did was not put the country through a torturous recount. Although LBJ won a crooked election for Senate against Coke Stevenson in '48 - both sides stuffed so many boxes in their pet counties that a recount would have been meaningless - LBJ did not have to resort to that trickery in 1960.

I'm not saying LBJ did not stuff Duval County, which was always voting dead Democrats back then, but the margin for JFK was above the threshhold of pain.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 9, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Drindl: You are putting words in my mouth, I just stated a known fact about Illinois and TX being stolen, i wasn't reflecting on the Kenndey administration; I think he died to young before Histrorians could get a fix on him. I was 8 when he died and like most americans still remember that day.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 9, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

'The Fix -- in a coat and tie '

This is a pretty silly construction, CC. Too cute by way.

Huckabee is less scary than Throwback.

Bhoomes, so you don't think Kennedy was a good president, or tht people liked him? You must be too young to remember. Everyone except the most mean-spiritd republicans loved him... and there were a lot less of them in those days, before Fox and Hate Radio.

Posted by: drndl | August 9, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I am curious to see his views on foreign policy? Does he have any plans to aid in the completion of the Millennium Goals? With the previous administration, the Millennium Goals were impeded with over 750 amendments written against them (Borgen Project). Does he plan to change that at all?

Posted by: Erica | August 9, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

pacman: As a good republican and better american, I wouldn/t screw my fellow americans by helping Narcisstic Newt,who is probably the only person I can think of who has a worst personality than Hilliary. Why the dems want to screw their country by nominating Hilliary is beyond me but they will pay dearly for it.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 9, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

L.Sterling writes
""The fix" is trying to gin up smoke where there isn't even a spark"

Or the Tragic Hipster was taken in by the brown wristbands. And that is tragic.

Posted by: bsimon | August 9, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe, it's just me, but Brownback seems "presidential," but Huckabee has a better message. And Huckabee probably connects better with the average voter in Iowa.

Nonetheless, we're just talking about creating a challenge to Guiliani and Romney. Frontrunner John McCain has flamed out early (too bad), and the longer that Fred and Jeri Thompson wait, the farther they fall behind, in both money and the Big Mo.

Oh wait, maybe it's time for Newt. That way, we could have an interesting election of those who can't abide Hillary vs those who can't stand Newt. Canada looks pretty good to many of us.

Posted by: pacman | August 9, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Thhrowback may shine in the straw poll, but if the GOPer base is not totally insane his take on reality will fade as the primaries heat up. While I agree with his pro-life rationale, he's a one trick pony, and that will not play well over the length of the entire race course..... "The fix" is trying to gin up smoke where there isn't even a spark

Posted by: L.Sterling | August 9, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Brownback offers nothing but total defeat for the GOP. He has no charisma or any executive experience. He had to get appointed to is seat and his whole campaign seems to be I more pro-life than the other candidates. I employ my republicans not to waste their expensive on this guy. Like congressmen, when do senators win. You have to go back to Kennedy and he only won because Mayor Dailey stole Illinois and Johnson stole Texas.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 9, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Brownback and Huckabee are directly competing against each other and that there's only enough room in the field for one of them. The victor will then become the direct challenger to Mitt Romney.

My money's on Huckabee simply because of his stronger debate performances and his executive experience as governor. I'm sure voters like Brownback and think he's sincere, but I just don't think voters view him as "presidential."

Posted by: The 7-10 | August 9, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Like bhoomes and proud, I want Huckabee to do well. But I can only say that I have not eliminated him from consideration.


Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 9, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Brownback or Huckabee... one of the two will emerge victorious this weekend.

Posted by: Mike | August 9, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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