Conservative GOP Sen. Brownback announces run for the presidency
He pledged never to sign a tax increase if elected.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback jumped into the 2008 presidential race Saturday, a favorite of the religious right now in an uphill battle against better-known rivals for the GOP nomination.
"I am a conservative and I'm proud of being a conservative," he proclaimed.
"My family and I are taking the first steps on the yellow brick road to the White House. It's a great journey," the two-term senator told hundreds of supporters. He pledged to fight on behalf of the nation's cultural values and to focus on rebuilding families.
The 50-year-old Brownback offers himself as a "full-scale Ronald Reagan conservative."
The Democratic National Committee issued a statement calling Brownback "a stubborn ideologue who places his own political agenda over the needs of the American people."
While Brownback touched on a wide variety of issues, he laced his speech with the themes that have made him a leader of GOP conservatives and a strong spokesman in Congress for socially conservative Christians.
A fierce foe of abortion, Brownback planned to return to Washington to participate in an anti-abortion rally Monday marking the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that established a nationwide right to the procedure. Brownback also opposes embryonic stem-cell research and gay marriage.
In his announcement, Brownback said the country needs to support the traditional definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman and said most Americans believe in "a culture of life."
He pledged never to sign a tax increase if elected president and proposed scrapping the current income tax law, saying it "should be taken behind the barn and killed with a dull ax."
He was reared on a farm in tiny Parker, Kan. -- population 281 today -- where his parents still live.
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