MANCHESTER, N.H. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback courted New Hampshire conservatives Saturday, saying issues facing the country revolve around preserving marriage, protecting life and recognizing God.
The Republican spoke with religious conservatives from the New Hampshire Republican Party and the New Hampshire Libertarian Party at a forum sponsored by the Cornerstone Policy Research Center, a conservative think tank.
A key issue, he said, was stem cell research.
"I support stem cell research," he said, "adult stem cell research -- because it is working. We have 58 different areas of cures using adult or core blood stem cell research."
Brownback, one of a dozen or so candidates warming up for the next round of presidential contests more than two years away, has already visited Iowa to meet with prominent Republicans and see if he can connect with voters in informal settings, according to supporters.
Iowa's caucuses and New Hampshire's primary are the first contests to determine a party's nominee.
Brownback said "the other side chooses to use the stem cell debate to say it's all about embryonic stem cells." Because day-old embryos are destroyed when stem cells are extracted, the process is opposed by some conservatives who link it to abortion.
He drew applause when he said the Terri Schiavo case brought the right-to-life debate to the foreground.
"There are two positions on this, and one is the quality of life today," he said. "Life must be of a certain quality and level for it to be of value and respected.
"The other is the debate that life is sacred. ... It is precious. It is a child of the living God and it must be protected and honored," Brownback said.
Brownback also praised Kansas for passing an amendment to its constitution banning gay couples from marrying or forming civil unions.