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Brownback Seeks Iowa Boost

Republican Sam Brownback is near dead last in the polls and millions of dollars behind in fundraising.

He wants to be president but his campaign in Iowa, which holds the nation's first primary contest, appears to have stalled.

Brownback knows he needs to shake things up a bit. So what's he doing?

For starters, there's an appearance Friday with Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Biden to offer a diplomatic solution in Iraq.

In a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Brownback said he's also reaching out to Iowans who may not be regulars at the caucuses, as well as those who may not be typical Republican Party activists.

He was traveling to Dubuque and Muscatine on Thursday, and previewing the appearance with Biden in Des Moines.

"I'll be talking about the need to come together in a bipartisan fashion for a political solution in Iraq," Sen. Brownback, R-Kan., said. "I think it will really resonate with Iowa voters who are tired of the political bickering and want to see some people working together to get this figured out."

Brownback also said turning to issues like Iraq could give his campaign a boost by showing voters he's more than just a one-trick pony.

"The faith-based voters know I'm pro-life. What I need is to emphasize to them that I'm more than just one topic," he said.

Brownback said he's also trying to woo economic conservatives with ideas like an optional flat tax and personal Social Security accounts.

He acknowledged that he and Biden aren't getting much attention, but he also sounded optimistic about the proposal to create three states inside Iraq, along with a united federal capital in Baghdad. Biden was first to propose it.

"I think here's a great chance for both of us to put forward a proposal that will be the ultimate solution in Iraq," Brownback said. "We're going to push for more independent-minded voters, doing this with Joe Biden to show I can reach out to the other side and also that I can deal with one of the hot-button foreign policy issues."

He hopes for a boost, but reality suggests otherwise.

In the interview, Brownback reasserted his earlier statement that he needs to finish fourth or better in the Iowa caucuses in January or he'll drop out.

The latest Des Moines Register poll had him in eighth place, with 2 percent support, ahead of only Alan Keyes and Calif Rep. Duncan Hunter. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was first, with 29 percent.

Brownback questioned his standing in the Register poll. He said he was fifth or sixth in surveys taken before an August straw poll in Ames, where he finished third behind Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

But his showing in Ames could have been worse had top candidates Rudy Giuliani and John McCain not skipped the event.

"I don't think that's where we are," said Brownback, who has been an infrequent visitor to Iowa since August. "I think we're above that, but still we've got to do much better. We've just got to step it up."