Brownback, Like Romney, Defends Right-Wing Credentials

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Republican candidates for president, have both been hard at work courting the Right Wing – from Romney speaking at “Liberty Sunday” to Brownback suiting up for the mythical “War on Christmas” to both signing Grover Norquist’s no-taxes pledge within a day of each other – and filling up their dance cards with endorsements from the Religious Right. Romney, though considered a more viable candidate, has been at a disadvantage in accruing right-wing points following revelations of his past support for gay rights.

Now, Brownback himself is questioning Romney’s right-wing credentials, reports CBN News:

“I think you have to look at where he stood on the issues and what he said publicly,”  Brownback said. “At times he’s said different things on these issues. I think that’s all going to come out during a long campaign.”

Brownback wouldn’t flatly say if Romney is a reliable conservative. He said, “We’ll see and that will be for him to discuss. I do think when we get out on the campaign trail and when the campaign really gets fully engaged, there’s going to be a lot of discussion about where do people actually stand on the issues and where have they been and where are they now and how reliable are they to stay that way.”

At the same time, CBN posted an article alluding to a similar problem haunting Brownback – his alleged pro-choice position at the start of his political career.

Presidential candidate Sam Brownback told CBN News that he’s always been pro-life despite his decision to stay away from the pro-life label at the beginning of his race for Congress in 1994.

“I was in the same position in 1994 as I am today as far as being pro-life,” said Brownback. “I didn’t articulate then. I thought – and this is just getting into politics – that I would be better off saying the specific areas of the issue rather than ‘Are you pro-life or pro-choice?'”

In particular, Brownback’s campaign said he had no recollection of telling Tim Golba, then president of Kansas for Life, that his position on abortion was “more in line with” that of pro-choice Sen. Nancy Kassebaum. The campaign has sent out a letter to supporters asking for job references: “Can I please ask those that are capable and willing to send me a testimonial quote highlighting Senator Brownback’s work on pro-life issues?”

Both of these stories were reported by Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Robertson expressed enthusiasm early for Brownback, a point noted by conservative columnist George Will, reporter Jeff Sharlet, and others. Now, Robertson might be backing down a little bit, according to Sharlet.