Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Press Conference to Announce End of Presidential Campaign
State Capitol, Room 514 South
Topeka, KS
October 19, 2007

I want to thank everybody for coming today and so many family and friends that are out, I deeply appreciate that.  Today I'm ending my candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president.  I do so with great love for my country and, but the recognition that my yellow brick road just came short of the White House this time.

It's been a fabulous journey for me and my family.  So many people have helped us tremendously along the way--many of them are here today, and I'm just proud and pleased to be associated with all of them.  It certainly renewed my faith in the American people.  We're an incredibly blessed nation and I think we have a special mission.

You know campaigns, and I've been through many, this is the first one I've ended this way, but they're always about the future.  I believe that the person and the party that offers the most hope and ideas for the future wins.  We put forward ideas in this campaign--the war on cancer, optional flat tax, a three state solution for Iraq, a return to family, and a view that every human life is sacred; it's beautiful, it's a child of a living God and it's sacred at every stage and at every place.  Our ideas haven't won yet, but neither will they be forgotten.  Perhaps they were for too far in the future, yet they remain ideals, I believe, for an idealistic nation.

I love especially the young people that have joined our effort.  They are the future and on their idealism and faith America will remain the shining city on a hill.

I leave this stage a better man, and hopefully America a better place.  And I'm amazed a such a wonderful nation and a powerful nation that could allow the son of a Kansas farmer even to dream he could live it and lead it.

To my fellow Kansans I thank you.  It's been a great privilege, continues to be, to represent you in the U.S. Senate.  I want to say that I'm sorry and I apologize for the votes that I've missed, but I'm back now and I look forward to working with all of you to build a stronger state.

And finally I want to lament, eve though this should be a happy time, a country that a democratic process works, I lament that campaigns too often focus on problems and never enough on the future and how great of a nation this place is.  We're the most powerful nation in the history of mankind, where we are today, and to whom much is given, much is required.  Let us move forward humbled by how blessed we are and let us resolve that our best days are yet ahead.  Thank you very much.  God bless you all.  [applause].

Aside: Could I get a glass of water?

I have many supporters here in the room and I really appreciate it, all that they would be here and that they would come.  They've been just fabulous.  We're going to have a cookout afterwards.  You're all invited.  I don't know whether we have enough food [laughter].  It's a beautiful day outside, you know.  If we don't have enough, we'll family hold back; we can not feed ourselves and that'll help out [his wife: "Yeah...FHB."] if we do that.  Let me try to take some questions from people.

QUESTION:  inaudible


QUESTION:  ...continues

BROWNBACK [laughs].  I've got a full-time job, Martin.  I'm in the U.S. Senate and I'm looking forward to really getting back at business there in the U.S. Senate and there's a lot of things to do.  I'm really hopeful we can get this three-state solution moving in Iraq.  We've gotten a vote in the Senate; we're getting more Iraqis on board with it.  The president of Iraq has come on board, Talibani, one of the Shi'ite heads has come on board.  So that's going to be one of the key issues I'm going to push.  And then we're going to focus on a lot of things that whatever we can do for the State of Kansas and to help people here.

QUESTION:  Senator, we're just 75 days away from the first votes being taken.  Why not after going as far as you did, why not see it through to at least the Iowa caucuses?

BROWNBACK:  We're out of money.  You know we've raised and pushed and think really have done a pretty good job given really being held from early on by the media in a--saying well we don't think you can do it, and not getting the media exposure.  And so it's been tough to raise money.  And then when we did third at the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, that's normally been a qualifier.  We were shooting for second or first, but when we didn't, when we got third, it's like it's been difficult since that period of time to raise funds to go on forward.  And now you're at the kind of swooping up of the campaign expenditures at this point in time in the cycle.  We've got to get enough money to really put a more intensive team back on the ground in Iowa and advertising and we just didn't have the resources to do it.

QUESTION:  Are you blaming the media for...

BROWNBACK:  No, I'm not.

QUESTION:  [continues...inaud.] ...obviously Gov. Huckabee has a different experience.  What about the media?

BROWNBACK:  I'm not blaming the media.  I'm saying there's a factor here.  We've had ten people in the race, and I haven't gotten a whole lot of media exposure, other than leaving the race, which maybe I ought to do more often.  [laughter].  You know you haven't seen my name very much nationally.  I think if we could have done a second place at Ames, Iowa, I think we could have gotten that bounce to build off of.  That's what we were shooting for.  I think it was a good game plan.  Could have worked.  But we were just a hair short, and then when you don't get that, then we haven't been able to raise the resources that we needed to be able compete.

I still think ideas and the core of what I represent is a winning philosophy both primary and in the general election.  I think we've got the right set of ideas, I really do.  And I've been test marketing these a lot for the last couple of years, particularly where we're going now in this political solution in Iraq.  And we did a joint event with Joe Biden about ten days ago, showing the country we can make the place work.  But we're out of money.

QUESTION:  [crosstalk...question on endorsement]

BROWNBACK:  I'm not making an endorsement today.  I'll think about it.  I'm going to be visiting with a number of people about a possibility of an endorsement.  I'm going to be talking to a number of the people that I've been running against about it but I have not made that, not made a decision and I'm not announcing anything today.

QUESTION:  Will you accept an offer for the number two spot?

BROWNBACK:  I'm not saying anything on any future plans today.  You know this is tough enough.  We've put a lot of effort into this and really thought we had the right model and the right game plan to be able to make it, but things had to break for us to be able to do it.  We didn't get the break we needed.

QUESTION:  Senator if you could do it all over again what would you do differently?

BROWNBACK:  I wouldn't debate immigration [laughter] in the middle of an election cycle.  That's proven to be just a really difficult topic; that one was hard.  There isn't a whole lot--because I've thought about this.  What should we have done different?  Where should we have gone different on something else?  What could we have done?  And I just, I don't see it there.  We--I think we had a good strategy.  I was very hopeful we'd be able to get the social conservative wing of the party on board early and then build out to economic conservatives, because I've got a record of both sides.  That's the way you win a Republican primary and I believe that's also the way you win in a general election.  It's a center-right coalition.  It's won since Reagan.  We had a little different twist on some of the ideas.  Pro-life, whole life.  The optional flat tax.  Iraq, a little different model.  But I still think these are the right ways and the ways we're ultimately going to go.  Maybe I was out there too early with a little different cut of the ideas and we would have been better of to have just stayed with the standard garden-variety.

I honestly belief the ethic that all life is sacred and that it applies to everybody.  It applies to the child in the womb, but it applies to somebody in prison, somebody in poverty, somebody in Africa, and it even applies to the immigrant.  It doesn't mean you don't obey the law.  You do.  You've got to have people follow the law.  But you still view people as people and not as problems.  And you know maybe we're just a little bit ahead of it and that didn't then get the gelling together that we needed to have.

It's also, the party for the first time in at least two decades is without an heir apparent.  And this is the first time in 20 years that the party hasn't had a Bush or an heir apparent running.  Maybe I should have changed my name.  [laughter].  That that would have gotten us somewhere.  But because of that then there's a longer sorting period, and as a person asked me this morning, I don't think the conservatives are divided, I just think they're undecided.  They know what they believe in, they just don't know who is the person to carry that.  And we've run out of money to continue to compete for that support, which I thought we could get more of it early and build off of that.

QUESTION:  Would it have helped if inaud...?

BROWNBACK:  No I don't think that particularly would have helped.

QUESTION: said you didn't want to talk about your future.  Do you see yourself running for governor?

BROWNBACK:  I have not thought about that at all.

What's that?

QUESTION:  You're not ruling it out?

BROWNBACK:  I just haven't thought about it.  I mean we've been fully focused on trying to move forward with this race and for this nation.

[to wife]  What's that?

WIFE:  The yard needs mowing first.

BROWNBACK:  I've got to mow my yard before I can do any of that.  [laughter].

QUESTION:  Senator, did you consider making a greater personal financial investment in this race?

BROWNBACK:  We don't have that kind of money.

QUESTION:  ...not Romney money.

BROWNBACK:  We don't have that kind of money either.  I  You've got to be able to put enough lead on the target.  I thought we did very well for the resources that we had for the ideas that we were putting forward.  Third at Ames Iowa, that caucus, and this is a very tough organizational task, and you've got a kind of a tough environment, a tough political environment.  We did very well, it's just we you know, we didn't get second at it, and so we've [inaud].  I think we've really, I think we done very well.  And I want to conclude again by thanking certainly my family, my wife and kids; they've been fabulous.  One of the great surprises of the campaign has been how good this has been for our family.  We've pulled together and it's just been fabulous, generally--pieces of it that have been difficult, but it's been a wonderful experience for our family, and it's just a fabulous nation.  Thank you very much.  Good day.  [applause].

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Sen. Brownback, flanked by his wife and children, spoke for about four minutes and then took questions for about nine minutes.

Transcript copyright © 2007  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action