Sam Brownback: 'The Poor Will Save Us'

The Republican senator says it just might take a religious revival to save America.

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I don't know if I would use those terms, but I've changed - that would be true. My policy positions have not. But, what I emphasize has changed. I'm still an economic conservative, pro-growth, limited government. I'm still a social conservative. But, in '95, I had a melanoma. We dealt with that. But, mentally, it was a big shock on my system. And it did change me. It made me look at the end of life.

And when I did, I wasn't happy with the way I was living life then, no matter how long or few my days were is I just, I thought, you know, oh, I'm just, I'm mean, I'm judgmental, and I don't like that.

And so, it was a real--it was a tough period. It was a great period. It was one I thank God for. I don't want to go back through it, but it did change me.

And it made me look and say what is it that I can do to help people? Or if God needs a politician, what would he do? And you quickly surmise, well, he would obviously be very interested in the poor and the downtrodden. He would obviously be interested in trying to help people and in building relationships with other people. And these are things you don't have to do a lot of searching to say that they're there. And unfortunately, in the world, there's a lot of people that are in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. And we live in the most powerful nation in the history of mankind. We're in a position to help.

With the recent announcements of Elizabeth Edwards' return of cancer and Tony Snow's return of cancer, how does that impact you? What does it make you think or feel?


Well, it makes me feel a lot for them, as I can, in some degree, identify, even though mine is a very simple one and you excise it and, if you catch it early on, the prognosis is quite good.

But, it also makes me think of the mental journey that they're on right now because cancer's very much a disease that hits you in the head because you just don't know what else is going on in this body. It makes me pray for them, and I do, with them going through this.

It also doubles my effort to eliminate deaths by cancer in 10 years, which I Co-Chair the Cancer Caucus here. A number of us have been pushing this. This is a--this is something we could actually do, and take a moon shot at. And it would be an enormous burst of freedom.

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Interview by David Kuo
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