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Transcript: Sen. Sam Brownback on 'FOX News Sunday'
Written by Chris Wallace / Published January 28, 2007 / Fox News Sunday
The following is a partial transcript of the Jan. 28, 2007, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":
"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Joining us now from Kansas to talk about the campaign and the war in Iraq is presidential candidate and Senator Sam Brownback.
Senator, you're one of the Republicans who oppose the president's new policy to surge troops into Baghdad. Will you support — will you vote for — the resolution introduced by Senator John Warner to state that opposition?
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK, R-KAN.:: That's the resolution that I find most appealing. It's one that talks about a path forward. I think we need to start talking about what we're for and not what we're against.
And that resolution also contains a lot of the Baker-Hamilton type of thought and language about how we move to a political solution regionally, inside Iraq, and in the countries in the area, and also a political solution here.
Chris, we've got to start getting people pulling together here, Republicans and Democrats, because you can't run a war with one party for it and one party against it. And we've got to win in Iraq.
WALLACE: But let me ask you directly. Are you going to vote for the Warner resolution?
BROWNBACK: I'll be supporting John Warner's resolution. I've stated that to him. But I wanted to be clear, too, on what the conditions are and what I believe we need to do to move forward together to win this in Iraq.
WALLACE: Let me ask you about that, because Defense Secretary Gates said this week that passing this kind of a resolution would embolden the enemy. Given that warning, why would you go ahead and vote for the Warner resolution anyway?
BROWNBACK: I don't see this enemy as needing any more emboldening or getting it from any resolution. They're emboldened now. I was there about two weeks ago in Iraq. I was in Baghdad. I was in northern Iraq, in Arbil.
This is a very aggressive situation. But it's also — you've got a lot of sectarian violence of Sunni and Shia and the Kurds. And I was in the Kurdish area. They were talking about we've got to push and get the Sunni and Shia together.
And I talked with Barzani, the head of the Kurdish group. And he was saying he wouldn't vote for more troops to go in because you've got to first force the Sunni and the Shia to start sitting down and talking about a political accommodation, and that's not happening.
WALLACE: Let's talk, though — you say that you think it's critical that we still win the war in Iraq, but as you just pointed out in your first answer, you think it's important to get everybody pulling together.
I want to put something up on the screen that you said this week. "We can't go forward in this country with one party for the war and one party against it, one party for the surge, one party against it. And I think we have to come together here to be able to win over there."
Senator, you even suggest that you might be willing to compromise with the Democrats on putting a cap on the number of troops in Iraq. Is that kind of political compromise any way to fight and win a war?
BROWNBACK: What is key is for us to be able to come together. You're seeing now the first street protest in this country about the war. We can and we will win in Iraq if we can just pull together.
And I think if the president would reach out to the Democrat leadership and ask them not what are you opposed to but what are you for, we can start coming together.
I thought that was the whole purpose of Baker-Hamilton, and I thought it was a good report that we could move together on, but if we can't pull together, we're not going to be able to maintain the length and durability of political will here to maintain a fight over there that's essential — that's essential — for us to be able to win.
WALLACE: But sometimes — and you're talking about running for president, Senator. Sometimes a commander in chief can't compromise. He's got to do what he thinks he needs to do to win.
Let me give you an example. You were among the unanimous Senate members who voted 81-0 to confirm Lieutenant General Petraeus to send him over to be the new commander in Iraq. And yet you now say that you're going to vote for a resolution that would deny him the troops he says he needs to win.
BROWNBACK: I met with General Petraeus over some period of time. He was at Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth, in Kansas. I had a good meeting with him and a meal with him last fall. We talked about the situation in Iraq at length.
He did not raise at that point in time the need for troop surge. He talked about the need for a political solution. I talked to him about the Sunni and the Shia.
WALLACE: He says now, Senator — excuse me. He says now...
BROWNBACK: Nobody asked for this.
WALLACE: ... he's for the surge. So you're saying I want to send him over there but...
BROWNBACK: Well, I'm telling you...
WALLACE: ... I don't want to give him what he says he needs to win.
BROWNBACK: I'm also telling you what I have had from conversations from him and from Sunni and Shia leaders who have not asked for or sought this additional surge, or the Kurdish group which is kind of the group in between the two, that are saying that they wouldn't support the surge.
We've got to get together here. And I think that requires us reaching out much more. There are a variety of options that the president reviewed, even the Baker-Hamilton commission reviewed.
WALLACE: Let's turn to the president's State of the Union speech this week in which I noticed that he never once mentioned stem cells, abortion or gay marriage.
And afterwards, the conservative Family Research Council issued a video called a lifeless State of the Union. Let's watch, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL PRESIDENT TONY PERKINS: I believe the president failed in challenging the new majority to join him in addressing core family and cultural issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, why do you think the president ignored the conservative social agenda in the State of the Union? And with the Democrats now in control of both houses, is that agenda on hold for the next two years?
BROWNBACK: Well, I think the president should have addressed it, although it seemed to me in the State of the Union message what he was trying to do was to lay out places where there's a bipartisan accommodation that could be reached, and that this isn't one of those, and that that's probably the way — why he stayed away from it.
I don't think we need to lose any ground. I think it's going to be difficult to make ground on life and marriage and family issues. But I think the president can also say that we're not going to lose any ground and that I'm going to veto bills that would reduce the protection for life or support for marriage or the family.
WALLACE: Senator, let's talk about your campaign for president, because you are now formally in the race as of this last week. You sent out a fundraising e-mail to fellow conservatives this week, and this was your central message.
"As the only tried and true social conservative seeking the Republican Party's nomination, I'm personally asking for your support. In fact, differing stands on social issues like life and marriage represent the main contrast between the candidates running for the Republican nomination."
Since you raised it, Senator, what are the differences between you, on the other hand, and (John) McCain and (Mitt) Romney and now (Mike) Huckabee on the other?
BROWNBACK: Well, as I pointed out, as a tried and true conservative, I've been in the Congress or the United States Senate since 1994. I've voted on these issues of life and marriage — many of the other social issues. I've been a leader on those issues.
I think it speaks for itself that I'm tried and true on these issues and many of the others have looked or been in different positions at different times. Those are going to come out during the race.
We point out at the outset of those that I've been a tried and true leader on these core issues to the base of the Republican Party and also core to America.
WALLACE: But you're talking about — you say differing — but, sir, you say differing stands are the main contrast. What are the differing stands that you have with Governor Romney and Governor Huckabee?
BROWNBACK: Well, I think those are going to come out during the campaign. But what I've been pointing out...
WALLACE: Well, we're in the campaign. We're in the campaign, Senator.
BROWNBACK: I've been standing for life all along, and I'll continue to, and I think other people in this race have not stood for life all along.
I've been standing and fighting for marriage as the union of a man and woman bonded together for life. I've fought for those in the Senate, and others have voted differently on those. That's what I'm pointing out.
WALLACE: Well, for instance, are you talking about the fact that Governor Romney's position seems to have evolved since 1994?
BROWNBACK: Well, he'll have to stand on his own record. At times he's stated that he's pro-life, and at times he's stated differently. That's something that's going to be coming out during the campaign, and I think that's clear from the outset.
WALLACE: And what about Governor Huckabee?
BROWNBACK: I don't know all of his positions. He hadn't been a candidate when I put that out.
These are also, Chris — I want to point out these are great people. All these individuals are good people, and campaigns are run on the issues. And that's why I'm putting this forward as issues. But I don't challenge any of their qualifications or abilities. It's a good set of people running in this field.
WALLACE: Well, no, I just asked, because again, you said that the differing stands on these issues are the main contrast.
Let me ask you another question about Governor Romney. Do you think that a Mormon is a true Christian?
BROWNBACK: Oh, I'm not going to get into theological issues, and we don't have religious tests for public office in this country, and we shouldn't have them.
I think people bring their set of values into the public arena and they debate them based them on the set of issues and ideas, not on their faith.
WALLACE: So you don't believe that the fact that Governor Romney is a Mormon should be an issue in this campaign.
BROWNBACK: I don't think it should be. We don't have a religious test in this country for public office. We shouldn't have. It shouldn't apply in this situation either. We don't have a religious test.
WALLACE: Senator, let me just finish up by asking you — because you say that Governor Romney's position has evolved over the years, but questions have also been raised about your consistency on some of these issues since you first ran for Congress back in 1994.
Take a look at this, if you will. Here's a Kansas City Star article from 1996 about you. "When he first ran, he took a pro-choice position," said David Gittrich, executive director of Kansans for Life. "That was enough to turn social conservatives against him."
And then there's this from the Lawrence, Kansas Journal World. "Kansas Republican Party Chairman Tim Shallenburger said he remembered having a conversation with Brownback in 1994. After the conversation, Shallenburger said he left with the impression that Brownback was not pro-life."
Senator, hasn't your position on some of these issues evolved over the years as well?
BROWNBACK: No, my position has become more clear, but it's not evolved. And you look at the record. Look at how I voted. Those votes are clear. I have a 100 percent pro-life record.
And, Chris, too, look who's led on these issues. Who is the person that you interview about stem cell issues? Who is the person that you — that's been fighting on partial birth abortion issues?
That record is consistently pro-life. I wasn't as clear in my statements at that point in time, but he record is absolutely 100 percent.
WALLACE: Senator Brownback, we're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for coming in and spending some time with us today. And see you along the campaign trail, sir.
BROWNBACK: Thanks, Chris.
This week: We'll have an exclusive interview with Sen James Lankford (R-OK), member of the Appropriations, Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees.