Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says
December 20th, 2011
09:28 PM ET
2 years ago

Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Prominent Iowa faith leader Bob Vander Plaats asked Michele Bachmann to dramatically alter her White House plans, according to the Bachmann campaign, including the possibility of dropping her presidential bid altogether.

"[Bob] Vander Plaats called us on Saturday and asked us to consider the possibility of merging with another candidate," Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told CNN. "He did not say whether we should be president or vice presidential candidate."

"And obviously, we didn't even consider that," Stewart added. "We said, 'Why would we do that?' "

Bachmann told CNN's "American Morning" anchor Ali Velshi on Wednesday there was no reason for the campaign to consider Vander Plaats' request for her to drop out of the race because "we've always polled above Rick Santorum." Santorum received a personal endorsement from Vander Plaats on Tuesday after the organization he heads, Family Leader, couldn't agree on who to endorse.

"I'm the one that has the momentum that's shooting up the chart right now," Bachmann said, crediting her performance in the last presidential debate for increased attention to her candidacy.

Family Leader is a Christian organization that holds sway over many Iowa social conservatives - a crucial voting bloc in the state's January 3 caucus. But Bachmann boasted, "I have probably the strongest level of support of the candidates here (in Iowa) among evangelical supporters," and cited her endorsement from 100 pastors and conservative TV host Glenn Beck.

CNN was unable to immediately reach Vander Plaats. A spokeswoman for The Family Leader refused to comment.

Earlier Tuesday, Vander Plaats and Family Leader Vice President Chuck Hurley endorsed GOP candidate Rick Santorum. In praising the former Pennsylvania senator, they essentially urged other Republican presidential hopefuls to end their campaigns and coalesce around one candidate.

The Family Leader refused to issue an endorsement as an organization, as its board members could not reach consensus on who to support. The group's seven-member board had recently narrowed its options down to Bachmann, Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The goal for The Family Leader and other like-minded social conservatives is to avoid splitting the evangelical vote by coalescing around one conservative candidate who could stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination. Many social conservatives and other religious leaders in the state have openly labeled the former Massachusetts governor a "flip-flopper," a criticism the campaign frequently beats back, while others have seen Romney's Mormon faith as an issue.

Representatives for leading social conservatives in the state held a secret meeting in November as part of the effort to deny Romney the GOP nomination.

Vander Plaats has criticized Romney's scant campaigning in the state compared to the other GOP contenders.

At the Tuesday announcement of their support for Santorum, Vander Plaats said, "If the Des Moines Register wants to endorse a candidate who's barely been here, then I think it's okay for us - Chuck and I - to endorse a candidate who's has been to about 350 communities in the state of Iowa."

The Register, the state's largest newspaper, on Sunday endorsed Romney's candidacy.

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Also see:

Bachmann: I'm not a politician, don't even know how to be one

Romney, on Letterman show, jokes about hair, Newt Gingrich

Perry: Romney and Gingrich backed the 'biggest act of theft in American history'

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soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. kenny

    After raising 25 plus kids, I think Michele Bachmann could still get into the White House ...........as a Nanny.

    December 20, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Indy

    If Bachmann drops out now her book sales won't be as good and she won't make as much money after she looses in a landslide to all the other candidates. Bachmann obviously knows she has no chance of getting the Republican nomnation and is in this for the sole purpose of money that will come after the primaries. If only it was that simple to ask her to step down, you could easily get a couple hundred million people to back Vander Plaats request for her to step out but Bachmann is after money. Many of her supporters have requested that she step down but the lust for money is more powerful for her than doing the right thing.

    December 20, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. NO Response

    Be Gone!

    December 20, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. wayne

    Must be that Santorum hates Muslims even more than Bachmann does......

    December 20, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. CamPAIN the Game

    Some one should ask her to quit.... Soon enough the voters will!

    December 20, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  6. Jack

    Pretty arrogant for a group to not take the risk to endorse a candidate yet ask a candidate to give up before a single vote has been cast. You know Iowa is not the only state Mr. Plaats, not even a populous state at that. Get over yourself.

    December 20, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. Name king

    I guest these Christians have had enough of baukman always playing footsy with the facts. Some one's, please tell this woman to tell the truth sometimes.

    December 20, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. roscoe

    Bob, we all want her out.....out of America for that matter. Is there any creature of lower value in America than Bachmann?

    December 20, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. tommytd

    Her campaign is nowhere...she'll be out shortly...not to worry.

    December 20, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  10. RINO Bil

    I am not a fan of Michele Bachman. I have examined her credentials and found them lacking. But she has a right to seek the GOP nomination for president and I applaud her for not giving in to this arbitrary, self-serving request that she step down. Wisdom dictates that the voters should decide who runs against President Obama, not a few out-of-touch, self-important "religious" leaders who only represent their own limited interests.

    December 20, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. Sorensen

    This "faith-healer" clown is all wrong. She should stay in as long as possible and deliver entertainment with her
    ignorance. If he was a "real" "faith-healer" he should go help her husband to turn gay people into straight people.
    See, that would be real "faith-healing!".

    December 20, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. John

    Michele Bachmann should just drop out, because she not going to win the President bid and no one going to want this Idiot has VP either.

    December 20, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. grady

    who is the most christian conservative candidate? is there a listhmus test...do you have to walk on water, then turn it into wine? How can one be more religious than the other...

    December 20, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. sickofitinca

    Anyone but Romney is not a reason to pick someone. I like Santorum a lot and think he would be a good conservative President. But the Audacity of asking Bachmann to step down? That is not what i would call Christian or American values. to consider endorsing Gingrich is UN american. he is a glory seeker, a power hungry MONSTER that would fundamentally change the face of the constitution as even Obama has not been able to do. I would either vote for Obama or not at all if he was the Republican candidate. I don't especially like Romney either, but could cast a vote for him as President. I would not vote for him as the best candidate that the Republicans put out there for us to choose from.

    Give me a break, these guys are as bad as they were in the 40's and 50's sitting in smoke filled rooms deciding who was going to win the nomination.

    December 20, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  15. Tom

    Yeah, Bachmann should merge with one of the other loons in the republican party.

    December 20, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. Steve

    I'm sure it wasn't because she's a woman.

    December 20, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. mngray

    Why are the Evangelicals so insecure about the way their church and themselves raised their children that they require the government to make it illegal to break the church rules? If you raised them "right"..you're safe, right? Show me one place in the Bible where ANYONE tried to change the govt. to follow Christian rules. Jesus didn't work that way...obviously.

    December 20, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. Dan Halen

    These right wing, fanatical zealots amaze me. They try to thwart the Constitution every chance they get. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    December 20, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. The LONE OKIE

    But, she was born in Iowa.

    December 20, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. EmDub

    Well geez, let me spell it out for you, Ms Bachmann. Vander Plaats endorsed Santorum, so I can be pretty confident he's NOT asking you to headline the ticket. I'd put money on him asking you to be on the ticket in invisible ink.....

    December 20, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  21. Dan I.

    My guess? Something about "Traditional Christian Values" regarding the place of women in society.

    December 20, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. Madtown

    No!! Don't encourage her to drop out, think of the comedy we'd miss! Encourage her to stay in, it's far more entertaining with her in it!

    December 20, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  23. keeth

    Someone keeps using the royal "we."

    December 20, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  24. works4me

    A little full of our ignorant self, huh Michelle?

    December 20, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. PackersFans

    vote for Mitt Romney!!

    December 20, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
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