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. Roger

    With out a doubt the best act in the republican circus is watching the ding-a-lings fight over who gets to drive the clown car.

    December 21, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. David Crosby

    Michelle Bachmann belongs in Germany in the 30's...scary

    December 21, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Dean

    I'm no fan of mixing government and church. Maybe time for the "faith based" organization to start paying taxes.

    December 21, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Expat American

    How do you become a Conservative Christian Faith Healer?
    Does it pay well?
    Is it similar to the 2-hour Saturday morning seminar to become a self-employed independent bounty hunter?
    Where do I sign up?
    Will I be required to throw Holy Bibles at Non-Christians, Non-Whites and gays?
    I won’t do that that last part; no matter how many complimentary limited editions of 'Going Rogue' they hold under my nose.

    December 21, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. No Tea For ME

    Evangelicals are the "Gallagher" of all the Christian comedy shows.

    December 21, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. 2020

    Bachmann should never be allowed to enter the race untl she passes the high school subjects in history, george, social science, and common sense.

    December 21, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. chilly g

    the president will win the election and the economy will get better and the rich will have to pay there fair share.
    demoncrats will win the house back and this time for good. cantor is a heatter and is bad for america

    December 21, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. DandyStryker

    These Tea Partiers represent the Anti-Christ. They teach against everything Jesus stood for - if Jesus were alive today, Bachmann and Perry would help crucify him anew. No true Christian can support, let alone vote for, these politicians.

    December 21, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. snowdogg

    Wow... I find myself agreeing with a Conservative Christian!

    December 21, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. schubb

    They want Romney out because he is a mormon, nothing more, nothing less.

    December 21, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Ron

    Bob Vander Platts is a wanna be politician who can't even get elected in his home state. For him to think he can hold sway over a presidential election is laughable.
    He made a huge production yesterday about calling a news conference for his little organization and then he had to pull off his lapel pin and the banner for his cult before he gave his personal endorsement. And we all know the only reason Bob wants Santorum is he is not Mormon and he was willing to show up for Bob's little shin dig last week to sign onto a pledge to get rid of abortion if elected.
    Come on Bob, this is no longer the 1970's and you need to either grow some ovaries before you think you can make that kind of decision, or just get over that you don't have dominion over women in general.

    December 21, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Big George in Big D

    @Roscoe – what a horrible person you must be. I'm quite sure you do NOT know Ms. Bachman personally nor do I but I don't wish her unkindness. The voters will "out" her – not big mouths like you!

    December 21, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Vince

    Well you just ignore him Michelle! You go all the way! If I didn't have you around the make me laugh with the odd things that come out of your mouth everyday...I don't know where I'd get my entertainment. You keep at it!

    December 21, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Keyser Soze

    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.

    Hey Jimmy, you wouldn't know socialism if it kissed you on the cheek. Sounds like you might like Somalia - no govt, no taxes, little to no infrastructure what's your is yours unless the pirates or warlords decide what's your is theirs sounds like utopia to you. Wingnut.

    December 21, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    FIELD1stSGT: " Surely not all the American People can be retarded. However I do know about one group they were born that way." Now, now, please stop referring to the neo-cons like that.

    December 21, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Sirned

    I hope the Church leader loses his tax exempt status for publicly entering the political stage.

    December 21, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

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

    Bachmann didn't "raise" those kids; some she fostered for just a couple weeks, probably as an emergency family to help out the state in a pinch.

    I don't know her motives for doing so – for the money or from her heart – but I can't help but be reminded of her hypocrisy in railing against government, while at the same time taking payments for the foster kids, the Medicare patients at her husbands "clinic" and her family's farm subsidies.

    December 21, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. marcia

    Here's what I want to know....WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE??? What a sorry country we have become! Religion sucks!

    December 21, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Larry L


    There are more false prophets out there than you think. Being Obama is the leader of the Muslim world in America.
    I'm always ashamed to see your Field 1st Sgt name because somebody might believe our Army would have such an ignorant, bigoted Non-Commissioned Officer in it's ranks. Your xenophobic approach to Christianity reduces your faith to yet another form of evil. Step away from Fox News and learn something.

    December 21, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. ladyjag

    Bachman, is an airhead, in her mind i don't know where she thinks she in the lead. Just goes to show, nothing upstaris. get out while she can.

    December 21, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. sosofresh

    Are you folk on the right aware of how far your party has strayed from what once made it a viable political choice? Please read the following quote from Barry Goldwater when asked about the religious right:

    "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.
    The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.... I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?... I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."

    – Barry Goldwater, (1909–1998), five-term US Senator, Republican Party nominee for President in 1964*, Maj. Gen., US Air Force Reserves, author of The Conscience of a Conservative.

    December 21, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    sosfresh, amen. I think Goldwater made those comments after Jerry Falwell called the nomination of Sandar Day O'Connor to the supreme Court " a disaster". Goldwater would be thrown out of the GOP, along with Reagan.

    December 21, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Andrij

    If Glenn Beck gave her an endorsement then it's probably a bad idea.

    December 21, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Ken in Illinois

    Merge with another canidate? Herman Cain volunteers!

    December 21, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Mindie from Indie

    Considering this goofball can't even tell her campaign is finished, she has never been Presidential material anyway

    December 21, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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