Obama and Brownback

Jul 4, 2007 10:27pm

ABC News’ David Wright reports: The Fourth of July has always been a day when people set aside partisan differences and unite around the patriotism they have in common. Today the Clintons’ chance encounter with the Romneys in Clear Lake, Iowa, seemed to epitomize that notion. But Iowa was so full of candidates today, there was another near-miss on the campaign trail too.

As Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.) addressed a crowd from the front of a supporter in Pella, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) was marching down Main Street in the Pella Independence Day parade, barely a block away.

The two men could not be further apart ideologically.

Brownback, a former evangelical Christian who converted to Catholicism in 2002, is the arch-conservative of the race. He’s a staunch opponent of abortion, a believer in the theory of “intelligent design” who is not sure evolution should be taught in the classroom. He cites the late Jesse Helms as a role model.

Obama is decidedly more liberal.

Yet the two men are genuinely fond of each other. The two men have worked together, advocating stronger U.S. policy to stop the genocide in Darfur.

"Sam’s a good man," said Obama today, smiling broadly when he heard Brownback was in town. Brownback returned the compliment, describing Obama as "a friend and someone I’ve worked well with." Brownback said he wished they could set politics aside on this sunny Iowa afternoon and go enjoy a glass of lemonade together.

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