WASHINGTON (AP) - Sam Brownback says he harbored a "hatred" of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton until he experienced a religious awakening in the mid-1990s.
Brownback, a Republican presidential hopeful, details in a new book how the change in outlook led him to make a stunning apology to Hillary Clinton a few years later during a Senate prayer breakfast.
"I was considering what I should say when I confronted all the anger that I held for the Clintons," the Kansas senator writes in the book, "From Power to Purpose: A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion."
"I thought, I hate them for what they are doing to the country and I feel justified in hating them for it," he writes.
But Brownback says he realized there is never justification for hating someone regardless of what their actions.
He told the prayer breakfast audience that he used to have a "hatred for Bill and Hillary" because of their politics. He spotted Sen. Clinton in the crowd and, speaking directly to her, said he "realized that those thoughts of hatred were wrong. I apologized to her for them. I don't know what she thought, but I believe it made a difference."
Religion permeates nearly every corner of Brownback's book, written with Jim Nelson Black and officially slated for release July 3. His soul searching began in 1995, hastened by two dramatic events in his personal life. His marriage was in real trouble - he was "on track" to getting divorced - as he devoted all his energy to the conservative agenda that fueled the Republican takeover of the House in 1994.
Even more traumatic was his 1995 bout with cancer and surgery to remove malignant melanoma from his right side. Brownback says he finally found peace when he resolved to devote himself to God.