Thanks for the help, everyone. I reinstalled F17 32 bit from the live CD, and installed the additional requisite packages as detailed above. After running version check, everything passed.
I just finished building and compiling binutils-2.22 Pass 1 per Chapter 5.4, and everything worked fine.
FWIW, I don't think the packages I had installed were the problem. The symlink I had created previously was incorrect, so I fixed that, and also the "eport" typing blunder I had when configuring the lfs user may have caused some issues. I say this because I had installed all the same packages previously, but with different results.
Thread marked as solved; maybe this can help someone else in the future.
I'm sure I'll be back with more questions before this is all said and done!