Santorum: Faith leader asked me, others to consider dropping out
December 21st, 2011
05:23 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: Faith leader asked me, others to consider dropping out

Fairfield, Iowa (CNN) - Prior to making his endorsement, influential Iowa conservative Bob Vander Plaats approached Rick Santorum and asked him to consider dropping out of the Republican presidential race, the candidate said Wednesday.

CNN first broke the news Tuesday evening that Vander Plaats, the president and CEO of The Family Leader, asked Michele Bachmann to consider dropping her bid or joining forces with another candidate.

On Wednesday, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, also said he understood Rick Perry and Bachmann were approached by Vander Plaats.

Although The Family Leader did not make an endorsement, Vander Plaats announced his personal support of Santorum Tuesday. His efforts prior to the announcement have been the focus of much attention, including from a questioner at a Santorum town hall in Fairfield, Iowa.

"There are reports that Vander Plaats asked Bachmann to either dramatically change or drop out of the race," the questioner said Wednesday. "If that's true are you willing to disavow those actions by Bob Vander Plaats?"

Santorum did not directly address whether he would disavow anything and instead told the questioner he was the recipient of a call similar to the one Vander Plaats had with Bachmann.

"As a matter of fact, not only Bob Vander Plaats but a lot of people were calling me asking me to do the same thing," Santorum said.

Santorum told CNN after his event that he last spoke to Vander Plaats "over the weekend" and that conversations like the one in question happened for several weeks.

He said Vander Plaats and the other individuals - he would name the others he said were trying to encourage the same thing - were part of a "movement" that in recent weeks began encouraging him, Texas Gov. Perry and Minnesota Rep. Bachmann to "consider getting out of the race and supporting one or the other."

Santorum called those efforts "misguided," but "goodhearted."

"They were trying to make sure we had a strong conservative presence and that someone who wasn't a conservative didn't win the Iowa caucuses," Santorum said. "But I said to them, 'Look, I don't think anybody should get out of the race. I'm not going to get out of the race, I don't think Michelle should get out of the race, I don't think Rick Perry should get out of the race. Let Iowans decide."


Filed under: Bob Vander Plaats • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Why bother? He's going to be out shortly after New Hampshire anyway. It's not like anyone was actually taking this tool seriously.

    December 21, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  2. Jesus is a Democrat

    There is nothing so dangerous and an ultra-fundamentalist Musllim, unless you stop to consider the far right Christians.....

    December 21, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. Sorensen

    Why doesn't faith-healer Bob drop out. Nobody would ever notice.

    December 21, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Kevin Boyd

    Isn't it prohibited by the internal revenue service for a tax exempt 501 (c) 3 religious organization to endorse a candidate for public office or otherwise promote a specific candidate? CNN and other news media have been continually reporting that religious leaders, pastors and churches are endorsing candidates for president and asking candidates to drop out. Michele Bachman rattled off today that she has received the "endorsement" of hundreds of religious leaders in Iowa and a number of religious organizations. Why isn't the news media questioning the legality of these religious endorsements and shouldn't the IRS be stripping them of their tax exempt status when such political endorsments are so openly made through the media? It seems to me that CNN and other media are missing this story.

    December 21, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. LOST in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    thing about is that if you dropped out WHO would miss you?

    December 21, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Is this religious organization tax-exempt? If they are, they shouldn't be, given they are promoting a political agenda.

    December 21, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. gg

    the best comedy on tv is the republicans circus

    December 21, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. Iowa for Paul

    I've lived in Iowa for 23 years and am getting tired of Bob Vander Plaats' involvement with the republican party here. He can't win elections and so instead really works to twist the arms of those in the party to try and get power. He couldn't get the nod for governor in 2006 and so he worked his way into Lt. Gov. nomination and lost to Dems. In 2010 he once again couldn't get the nod for governor and tried to twist some arms to get the Lt. Gov nomination. Branstad wisely rejected pressure from Vander Plaats to be his Lt. Gov. and sure enough Branstad won. He needs to step out of the way and let those in the party make choices for themselves.

    December 21, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. Matt

    I actaully agree with Santorum on this: Let the voters decide. I'm tired of party elites trying to decide for the rest of us who the party should nominate.

    December 21, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. Cassandra Chu

    ... Santorum is a religio-freak Zionist. he takes his orders from Israel.

    December 21, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  11. John

    I think all three of you are just wasting your time and money, because none of you have a chance to win.

    December 21, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. CheeseSteak

    Common sense tells animals leave the area when things get stupid. Guess this clown ain't got common sense.

    December 21, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  13. m

    They are all losers so what does it matter whether they stay in or get out.

    December 21, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. Larry L

    Why do political lobbyists get the tax exempt status of religious organizations? It's the American Taliban.

    December 21, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  15. JName

    It is time we end tax-free status to these supposedly religious organizations.

    December 22, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. pete4808 in Philladelphia

    Vander Plaats Family values organization Just tell us who to support hummm perhaps someone that would stop Ron Paul's surge and most likely will win in Iowa??? I guess Vander Plaats wants another war monger in the white house He will start a war with Iran and Syria. The Russians and the Chinese are already there to defend them if we attack them. This will be the start of WW3 . God help us if we dont elect Ron Paul for President. He is the only man who will bring peace and prosperity to our Nation.

    December 22, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. DaveinSC

    Did he call Santorium and ask nicely,Or was he waving the good book, throwing holy water around, and screaming "Out Satan, The blood of Christ commands you"? Makes a difference.

    December 22, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  18. Ric

    Apparently Gingrich has promised "The Family Leader" much more than the others have. "I've got one hand in my pocket..."

    December 22, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  19. REC

    It doesn't matter if he drops out, he's not winning anyway. Last poll had him at 2% LOL!

    December 22, 2011 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  20. AlaskaPalin

    Religious persons; which most americans claim to be; pay taxes. Would the paying of tax cause religion to shy away from politics? No! In fact the threat of being taxed should incentivised it to get more deeply involved so as to see persons who will take up its cause get elected to congress. By imposing tax on religion wouldn't congress be getting involved in religion. If politics is the way religion sees it fit to grow; congress cannot make any law to restrict this growth.

    December 22, 2011 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
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