And From Kansas: a Real Conservative

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Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback says he'll announce whether or not he's seeking the White House in '08 within a month, but it sounds to us like he's in. His calculus: None of the current crop of GOP presidential candidates have strong backing from religious conservatives who make up the party's base. "There is room in the Republican primary for somebody who is unapologetic about being pro-growth, pro-limited government, pro-life, and pro-marriage," he tells us from Kansas. Current Republican presidential frontrunner John

McCain famously knocked the religious right in his 2000 presidential bid, while former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani–McCain's main rival for the nomination, according to polls–champions abortion rights and gay rights. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another contender, has stepped up outreach to religious conservatives, calling on his state legislature to fight the judicial ruling that legalized gay marriage there in 2003. But until recently, Romney had a pro-abortion-rights stance. "There has been some mixed record in [Romney's] background," says Brownback. –Dan Gilgoff