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'

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Bob

    HaHaHaHa! Rick Santorum is the hopeful front-runner now? The religious-right influenced GOP is in a death spiral!

    December 20, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. Randy

    These 'social conservatives' are a joke. Endorsing Santorum? Really? Simply because he hates gay people as much as they do? Do they really think he can be a great president and turn this country around just because he hates the gay community? And besides, why is it that all these 'family values' people seem to focus on nothing but "who can hate anybody but white christians"? These groups make me sick! There is NO difference between them and islamic extreamists. Both want to use fear and hatred of anyone who thinks differently than they do. I think Jesus would be embarrassed to be linked to any social conservative or 'family values' cult.

    December 21, 2011 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  3. CaliMafia

    C'mon, you guys. First we lose Cain, now Bachmann??????? Keep this up and there'll be no one left to make fun of.

    December 21, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  4. buckup

    Bachmann, your masters who have better connections to you-know-who, are giving you a signal the rest of us can read.

    December 21, 2011 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  5. Chedar

    Get rid of Backman, Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, Perry and the rest of the Looney Tunes. You want a serious candidate to beat Obama? Take Jon Huntsman as your republican nominee. The Christians are a weak force nobody listens to them anymore. They are a bunch of loonies. Take it from an independent voter like me.

    December 21, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. steven harnack

    "Why would we do that"? No one this divorced from reality need apply!

    December 21, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  7. pete4808 in Philladelphia

    Gingrich really??So much for family values. Keep your endorsement I vote for Ron Paul, a man with real values.

    December 21, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  8. Lee

    Got to unite the anti-Romney people under one banner or the choice of the wall street establishment, Mitt Romney, will waltz in with his millions and super-Pacs flooding the airways with negative campaigning.

    Bachman should get out as she only splits the vote. Paul won't leave because he and his robot followers are deranged even though they will never get a republican nomination anytime this century. Santorum won't leave because this is his only job and he has no other prospects.

    December 21, 2011 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  9. boz33333

    Nothing more scary than the evangelical vote, with their twisted view of Christianity and its role in the world of politics. There are no similarities between the teachings of Jesus Christ and modern fundamentalist Christianity.

    December 21, 2011 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. jayindenver

    Why does Bachmann and her campaign insist on using the royal "We?" Does she not understand the concept of personal pronouns? Or anything else, for that matter?

    December 21, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  11. timz

    That this organization could consider supporting Newt Gingrich just shows that they have no integrity. There isn't a more anti-family candidate out there than Gingrich, not to mention his sterling record of corruption and dishonesty.

    December 21, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  12. pringles

    I'm not at all a Bachmann fan. But who is this guy to say she can't run? She might be all kinds of crazy, but if she wants to stay in she should stay in.. I thought this country stood for freedom.

    December 21, 2011 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  13. Greg

    This guy, Bob Vander Plaats, is a real stooge, and he needs to drop out of the Iowa political scene, He has endeavored to turn Iowa into a circus, and their first-in-nation status has become a farce. Guys like BVP have made Iowa totally irrelevant in the national political discussion

    December 21, 2011 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  14. Vosky

    I am a born-again, evangelical Christian and I WILL VOTE for Barack Obama! No politician will use religion to con me!!

    December 21, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  15. Nick

    Ron Paul and his wing of the party are expanding quickly. Either they need to stop with the war-mongering and social issues and get with the program, or they will lose to Obama. They are scared a libertarian movement is coming. Extremely scared. But it needs to happen.

    December 21, 2011 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  16. James Ruston

    The circus continues.

    December 21, 2011 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  17. Steven

    Last time I checked Iowa isn't the only state in the United States of America!

    December 21, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  18. Raisindetere

    When will more people realize that organized religion is based on hate and ignorance and is holding America back (in addition to dodging taxes so these mail order ministers can drive luxury cars and travel the world between adulterous affairs and embezzlements)?

    December 21, 2011 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  19. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Religion should have no place in politics–all candidates whose principal interest in becoming President is to impose the tenets, if not the form and practice, of their religions on the rest of the country should drop out. That specifically includes both Bachmann and Santorum.

    December 21, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  20. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Yet another conservative leader urging her to stop the madness. Please do. Drop out while you stil have a tiny shred of dignity. It would not be as much fun with you gone, but the sanity level of the Republican hopefuls would rise dramatically.
    Lets face the truth. It is not the photographers making you look crazy in all those pictures. It is just the crazy showing through.

    December 21, 2011 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  21. Logic in LA

    Because the Bible clearly says the church or its leaders should be in politics- NOT!

    December 21, 2011 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  22. mike garrett

    she needs to go!

    December 21, 2011 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  23. Canadian Jim

    Evangelicals won't vote for a Mormon. It is their bigoted and judgemental ideas that show their true values, none of which are actually Christian.

    December 21, 2011 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  24. Sam Rupani

    Good Evening.

    Bachmann should consider dropping out. She will be best suited for Vice President of Gov. Rick Perry.




    Sam Rupani

    Houston, Texas, USA.

    December 21, 2011 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  25. DoNotWorry

    She could not keep Romney from winning the nomination, a split would keep any candidate from winning on the first ballot. After that, they can vote for whomever they want.

    December 21, 2011 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
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