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. adampeart

    Call it what it is. The "Christian"(and I use that term loosely) group DOESN'T want a Mormon president. Coincidentally, I don't want Romney as president either, but not because of his Mormonism. They consider Mormons a cult, not a Christian denomination. To boot, they would love nothing more than a warmonger as president, to wage a holy war against all of Islam. It's my opinion that they, and any of their 'followers' are demented, hateful, and anything but "Christian."

    December 21, 2011 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    They are right.
    She should drop out. She is a distraction to any part of a balanced Republican leadership even if its as vice president.

    December 21, 2011 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  3. willie floyd

    As a Christian and Dem. I strongly believe in separation of church and state. It's a shame that a candidates' religious preference should play a part in a country that is supposed to support freedom of religion.

    December 21, 2011 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  4. A callahan

    He should get out of politics and then go preach the sermon on the mount...feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the imprisoned..if we are as the christians insist a christian country than whatever we are doing to working people is going to raise taxes in heaven.

    December 21, 2011 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  5. bear

    If these organizations are Tax Exempt, they should lose their status immediately.

    December 21, 2011 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  6. YW8

    No matter who asks her to quit, we will be listening to her nonsense until she is forced out of the competition. She will remain clueless 'til the end.

    December 21, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |

    The Mormon knives are out in the rube state. The teabaggers asked Bachmann to quit too. Didn't she pay the rubes to win the straw poll? They have moved on to flavor of the week Ron Paul since Lizard flamed out.

    December 21, 2011 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  8. BJ Bell

    Everyone wants to build a power base - Money and Power that's what it's all about......

    December 21, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  9. mjbrin

    Vander Plaats holds sway over many Iowa social conservatives? When did he become pope? I thought protestants were allowed to think for themselves?

    December 21, 2011 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  10. Jebbb

    Vander Plaats needs to get out of politics, and stop asking for money from people who can't afford it. Go study something useful Bob, like auto mechanics or plumbing. We don't need another self-appointed wealth-amassing "apostle."

    December 21, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  11. Mike

    What nerve! The only good thing to come out of Iowa is Radar O'Reilly.

    December 21, 2011 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  12. Craig in Pa.

    She shouldn't be running in the first place...she is unqualified for the job, plain and simple...common sense should tell you that! DUH!!!!

    December 21, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  13. NoTags

    The Family Leader just scraped the bottom of the barrel endorsing Santorum. Too bad the GOP doesn't have a candidate qualified to be POTUS.

    December 21, 2011 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  14. Bernard Webb

    How exactly does one go about "merging with another candidate"? I'd like to see that video.

    December 21, 2011 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  15. ARTRaveler

    Hey folks, we are not electing a theologian-in-chief and all four of your proposed candidates have major issues, including a lack of intelligence on a couple, but then again, so does everyone in the clown car. Nothing splits Amerixca like one group of religious people trying to shove their view of religion down everyone's throat.

    December 21, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  16. trashcup

    HUH? Guess the crew can't understand a direct request to remove themselves from consideration. Politics. Go figure.

    December 21, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  17. volksmaniac

    Whether she gets the nomination or not , she is a smart conservative woman , who still has a role to play in the political arena . Plus , she is gorgeous !!

    December 21, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  18. johnmenacherjr

    The "Family Leader"? Is this nut from North Korea or what? Man what a self assumed title!

    December 21, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  19. albert

    This false prophet Vander Plaats needs to stop calling himself a Christian. If he wants to be a Christian he needs to read/study the Bible and live by it. He has absolutely no business sticking his nose in politics. Unless of course he would like to show us from the Bible where Jesus was involved with politics. Jesus only endorsed one Government and only taught us to pray for one. Gods Kingdom (the Lords Prayer). Also read Daniel 2:44 to see what happens to world governments.

    Mr. Vander Plaats you are an embarrassment to Christianity.

    December 21, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  20. Mark

    Maybe they wanted her to drop out so she would quit making Christian Conservatives look so poorly educated?

    December 21, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  21. Pam

    A family religious group being sexist? Quelle surprise.

    December 21, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. Feast of Beast

    "The Family Leader". The very name reeks of moral-snobbery and arrogance. I don't want some right-wing religious nut in the White House, spouting the word "God" i every other sentence, demanding prayer and creationism in schools, and making religion-based stupid decisions like banning stem cell research again. Keep your God out of our government!

    December 21, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  23. Feast of Beast

    "The Family Leader". The very name reeks of moral snobbery and arrogance. I don't want some right-wing religious nut in the White House, spouting the word "God" in every other sentence, demanding prayer and creationism in schools, and making religion-based decisions like banning stem cell research again. Keep your God out of our government!

    December 21, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. Odds

    Oh, yes. Mitt Romney absolutely is a flip-flopper. But not because he's truly changing his mind. Rather it's because he's demonstrated that he'll say anything if he believes it will help him to get elected. Unfortunately, all of the other candidates have demonstrated the same willingness to lie through their teeth and pull complete 180s on various issues if they think it will help their chances.

    The exception may be Bachmann, who appears to be honest in her convictions. Unfortunately, she's also completely out of touch with the vast majority of voters. No, it seems that none of the current Republican candidates are worth voting for. It's unfortunate, but unless something changes Obama will be reelected.

    December 21, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  25. Sandy

    Why ask Bachman to drop out? Isn't Santorum polling lower than her? Sexist?

    December 21, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
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