updated 12/4/2006 11:41:53 AM ET 2006-12-04T16:41:53

Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas says he's taking the first step toward a presidential bid.

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Brownback -- a vigorous opponent of abortion -- is a favorite of the religious right.

He's promising to make "issues of life" a part of his effort to win supporters for his presidential bid -- while also focusing on fiscal restraint and tax reform.

Brownback says there's a "real need in our country to rebuild the family and renew our culture." And he says there's also "a need for genuine conservatism and real compassion in the national discussion."

Brownback said he has formed a presidential exploratory committee, which will allow him to travel the country and raise money while gauging support for the GOP nomination.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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