Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., began his “Parker to Ames, Farmer to President” Iowa bus tour on June 18 but before he could hit the road, reports came out that a Brownback field director in Iowa wrote an e-mail taking a shot at Mormonism, the religion of Republican front-runner former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In the e-mail obtained by the Washington Post, Emma Nemecek “asked a group of Iowa Republican leaders to help her fact-check a series of statements about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including one that says: ‘Theologically, the only thing Christianity and the LDS church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith.’”
Brownback, who is trying to woo social conservatives, called Romney on Monday to apologize for the e-mail. “There’s no religious test to be president. There shouldn’t be one,” Brownback told reporters during a bus stop in Iowa. “And so these are things that if they get involved in campaigns, they’re wrong. We tell our campaign not to have this discussion.”
Nemecek was reprimanded for the e-mail, which was sent from her personal account, and the Romney campaign said it accepted Brownback’s apology.
The bus tour, during which the Kansas senator visited 27 towns in four days, made the local evening news: Stop Three, Day One: Indianola. The brown wristband, mentioned here last week, garnered some air time, too.
Word of Brownback’s bus tour also reached “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” The NBC talk show host cracked a joke about it Monday: “Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback kicked off a 1,200-mile campaign trip through Iowa. Yeah. Brownback said, ‘I’m not going to stop until I find someone who knows who the hell I am.’”
On Thursday, the bus tour made a final stop in Ames, Iowa, where team Brownback opened a campaign office to gear up for August’s straw poll.
Back at the Capitol late Thursday, the Senate voted to increase the minimum fuel efficiency requirements for vehicles. Brownback missed the vote.
Much has been made of New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton’s online video for her run for the Democratic nomination spoofing the Sopranos and the selection of Celine Dion’s “You and I” as her campaign song. But Topeka Capital-Journal columnist Ric Anderson writes that Brownback has had a theme song for months on his MySpace page . It’s Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son.”