Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says
December 20th, 2011
09:28 PM ET
3 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. Louis

    "The goal for The Family Leader and other like-minded social conservatives is to ...stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination. Many social conservatives and... others have seen Romney's Mormon faith as an issue" – Sounds to me that the REAL issue is that Plaats is a closet anti Mormon bigot.

    December 21, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. The Jackdaw

    Its pretty bad when a Jesus freak is telling the Jesus freak to get lost.

    December 21, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Michael in Houston

    "shooting up the charts". Good grief woman.....you have about 3 people who support you.

    December 21, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. anagram_kid

    I guess Bachman is just not frothy enough for the Family Leader.

    December 21, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. Boo

    Bob Vander Plaats: "Come on, quit already. I want to be a rain maker."

    December 21, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Bill

    Two things:

    1) "shooting up the charts"... isn't she STILL single digits? When you're single digits, moving 1 more percent up is a 10 percent or better move ;)

    2) Since when is an endorsement from Glen Beck a GOOD thing?!?

    December 21, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I have no use for Bachmann... I think she's nuts and totally uninformed on issues... HOWEVER, with that said, I get annoyed with there religious leaders just as much. This is another example of why need to remove the tax exempt status of churches. Not against them trying to sway elections, that's fine whether I agree with them or not... But when they do, they need to start paying for that right to sway elections like the rest of us do... PAY TAXES THEN GO AHEAD WITH YOUR AGENDA... PAY NO TAXES... THEN SHUT UP!

    December 21, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. IndeePendant

    WHO are these 'CHRISTIAN" thugs? One day they threaten corporations to take away their ads from shows they don't want to be aired and another day they ask (political) candidates to drop out of the race(s). Seems like there's a CHRISTIAN Mafia in USA.

    December 21, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    Why are religious organizations that dabble in politics still rewarded with tax exempt status?

    December 21, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. KellieGirl

    So we don't vote for the best candidate? We vote for the candidate that has shaken the most hands, kissed the most babies and visited the most towns.

    December 21, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Doug from TN

    It is sad when religions are run like businesses and get into the business of politics. Teach your followers correct, moral principles and let them govern themselves!

    December 21, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    The Iowa Taliban has asked Mullah Bachmann to drop out of the race.

    December 21, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Laurie in Spokane

    No! No! Please have her stay in!! She provides too much entertainment with her ignorant remarks and complete incomprehension of today's world. We NEED her for light relief.

    December 21, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. FSU1970JRS

    All I want for Christmas is Ron Paul to be the Republican Presidential Nominee. There couldn't be a better gift since even Republican's have figured out the Michele Bachmann if crazy. They haven't figured that out yet with Ron Paul. I would be just as happy with Newt or Mitt or any of the other Republican jokers.

    December 21, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. MarkinFL

    How ironic! He asks her to step down in the cause of getting all the conservatives behind one candidate, yet his own board of directors ( 7 people that work together ) cannot agree. I think that shows how likely his vision of one candidate for all conservatives will succeed. The right-wing is a mess. Keep it up!

    December 21, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. NVa Native

    So with a Bawkman/Satanorum religulous ticket she would have to submit to the man? As the teachings of their "faith" dictates.
    But what about Marcus – would he have to be submisive or dominant? That's quiet a frothy question ....

    December 21, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. str8Vision

    Faith leader? People of faith in America are funny. God set forth in his commandments to man; thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. The religious right's pick for President stated that Iraq had WMD's, yellow cake uranium and direct ties to OBL and 9/11. All known lies used to justify waging a war that was planned long before 9/11. I'd say that's a big YUP on bearing false witness. God further set forth in his commandments to man; Thou shall not kill. How many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died in our war that was based on known lies? Oooops, strike two. God set forth in his commandments to man; Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's goods. Yet the GOP's eyes sparkled with the visions of oil and corporate profits. Strike three. In the books of Mathew and John, Jesus was furious when the church embraced the practice of greed and merchant profits, he ran them all out in a rare display of total anger. America's religious right must be worshiping a different God than the one they claim to have in their hearts and minds. Instead of Jesus on the cross how about a golden dollar sign pasted on the side of a M1 tank? Amen

    December 21, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Johnny 5

    Faith is not fact as most reasonable individuals know. It would be proper to call Bob Vander an opinion-leader more like. All of the candidates are of poor selection, not just Bachmann.

    December 21, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. John

    Shooting right up the chart? Each one of these Republicans is dumber than the next. They are about to find out that the people are not as dumb as they think and have had it with them casting aside the middle class in order to please big business and the wealthy. You can buy commercials but you can't buy votes.

    December 21, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Jay

    when the American Religious Terrorists are asking you to bow out of the race (even though you've gone after the Gays, Muslims AND Mexicans), you may as well just hang it up. NO H8!

    December 21, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. 2cents4free

    Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and all religions will vote Obama. Hypocrites will vote GOP.

    December 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. JuanVonDinklus

    I think we need to really get serious about taking away tax exempt status from churches. Then, if they want to influence and lobby politicians, that would be fine and dandy. To make money to do this like they currently do, is not okay. After all, isn't there a separation of church and state. All these religious places (on both sides) cross that line many times. Just think, we could most likely balance the budget and pay the deficit down if we took the tax exempt status away.

    December 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Lockerius

    So do the rest of us!

    She is wasting valuable air.

    December 21, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Molly

    Okay – here goes
    EVAN – JELL – ICK – KA my computer won't let me continue.
    Hey – we are NOT all Republicans here. OBAMA 2012!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Bill

    As a huge supporter of President Obama, I encourage Bachman to stay in the race until the very end, and never lose faith that God wants her to be the Republican nominee.

    December 21, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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