Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says
December 20th, 2011
09:28 PM ET
11 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. Realistic85

    Is Bachmann really shooting up in the poles right now or is everyone else just falling?

    December 21, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Harald

    Why can't those clowns not simply leave religion out of the picture ?
    Nietzsche already figured that God is dead.
    To tackle humanity's challenges no supernatural power is required but REAL people who spit in their collective hands and get things done.

    December 21, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, you have a Roman Catholic candidate who polls around the same as the Margin of Error, who got thrown out of office in his home state for being out of touch being supported by a fundamentalist group because he is vehemently anti-abortion, white, male. Then you get the guys endorsing him "asking" the other candidates to fold and let Santorum win the nomination. Man, where is Karl Rove when you really need him? Oh, yeah, he is still in hiding over his delusional decision to try to be kingmaker with another Texas Governor. At least the last one had some clue as to how things work.

    December 21, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. jim

    "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."

    Four candidates is "narrowed" options? Its everyone who isn't A) Mormon or B) Ron Paul

    December 21, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. SPLAT!~

    Hmm....God tells her to run, VanderPutz tells her to quit. Who's the Almighty here?~

    December 21, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. James B.

    I see a ton of leftie loons crowing about wanting to vote socialist for Obama. Easier to vote stupid than to think. Since when did right wing (ie American values) become a dis-qualifier for President? I guess in the minds of those who want totalitarianism, being American IS a problem.

    December 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Buster Bloodvessel

    Whoever VanderPlaatz is, he sure has a high opinion of himself. She'll drop out soon to be the Tea Party candidate anyway, but she's enjoying herself by helping wreck the GOP's brand.

    December 21, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Les

    I can't believe that the loony tunes from the fas-cist Xtian ev(il)angelican right have not had their tax free status revoked. It is AGAINST the law for churches to interfere with government on any level. Creeps like "faith leaders" are nothing more than the modern version of snake oil salesmen. There is np place in the Bible that refers to "faith leaders" as a legitimate part of the ter-roristic faith of Xtianity . Zilch, Nada.

    All in all, who really cares what this guy said. Bachman will fall because of her own ignorant and uneducated pronouncements. The woman clearly has no clue.

    December 21, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Joey

    Ms. Bachmann doesn't know the meaning of exit. She's now become the conservative party's party pooper.

    December 21, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. jim

    @NVa Native
    "That's [quite] a frothy question ..."

    I see what you did there

    December 21, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Recovering Republican

    Bachmann is that house guest that just will not leave. Even after you have dropped a million hints, then asked them to leave, then told them GET OUT. After Palin and Bachmann, it is going to be a while before America looks to another female GOP candidate.

    December 21, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. WhereIsPalin

    There's no need to contact God directly for guidance. Just listen Family Leader..........and don't ask questions.

    December 21, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. John R. Lancellotti

    In my opinion, Bachman is the best candidate in the race. She is consistant and continually says all the right things as far as this conservative is concerned. Gingrich strikes me as an opportunist and Romney has already lost once so I can't see why we should give him the chance to lose again. I'll vote for Romney and HOW DARE this so-called Iowa "faith leader" Vander Plaats take it upon HIMSELF to try to deprive ME of my right to vote for her? HOW DARE HE? Suppose I asked him to give up his religion and become a "REAL CHRISTIAN." I'd have NO RIGHT saying a thing like that. Similarly, he has no right making a judgement about Congresswoman Bachman, a fine legislator and in my opinion, a woman who doesn't stand much of a chance to win the GOP nomination ONLY because she's a woman! Is there ANY doubt that male chauvanism is at work here? Of course not. No doubt at all. So, Mr. Vander Plaats, as Archie Bunker use to say, STIFLE yourself. John R. Lancellotti

    December 21, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. John R. Lancellotti

    i just made a mistake. I said I'd vote for Romney. I meant I'd vote for Bachmann! I think she'd be the best president.

    December 21, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. GoldCoin.Net

    Bachmann Dont leave!

    December 21, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Grand Oil Party

    Evangelicals, see everyone else's "faith" as an issue. Just a bunch of fascists who would purge the world of any other beliefs if they were ever given absolute power.

    December 21, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Larry

    Her latest poll numbers aren't in the top 3 . she just keeps dropping, in every poll out there. she either needs to quit, or drop out altogether – or endorse somebody. The Trouble with her endorsing anyone, would be political suicide for whomever she endorses.

    December 21, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Penny

    She said she has the endorsement of Glen Beck like that's a good thing.

    December 21, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Larry

    after palin & bachman – – it seems like they Just won't let someone who actually knows what they are talking about, to get media coverage, but instead , we have to listen & watch these 2 females fight it out w/ seroius contenders. Palin would never Go Away. She ended up being a contributor on the other news channel. I suspect Bachman will eventually do the same.

    December 21, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    John R. Lancellotti, if you view Bachmann as a fine legislator, then please, name a piece of legislation that she has introduced in committee and had signed into law in the last five years. The truth is that no such accomplishment exists. When she completes her current term, she will have cost the taxpayers of this country over a million dallars in salary over her 3 terms, and produced NOTHING. No one should have to subsidize that amount of no-production: THAT explains why her poll numbers are so low, NOT because she is a woman. Does that really strike you as a success?

    December 21, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Jane

    @Mike – – Iowa can also claim Elijah Wood. Those two Almost make Iowa worth listening to (but not quite)!

    December 21, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Thomas

    She should be on the foreign relations comity for planet Neptune or Ambassador to Pluto .

    December 21, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. maine liberal

    SNL would lose some good comedy without bachman

    December 21, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Byteme

    Michele Bachmann should send those 23 kids back to central casting and GO AWAY, not now, but RIGHT NOW!

    December 21, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. I'mARepublican

    Everyone knows women can't be President!
    Geezz... how stupid can peeple be?

    December 21, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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