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. Ann

    Before merging with a candidate, she first needs to merge with a brain. The one she has is defective.

    December 21, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  2. Keyser Soze

    Hope she stays in. Her comedic value is priceless.

    December 21, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Someone is telling Batty Bachmann to get off the ledge.
    How do you save face/recover from that Batty?
    On the other hand, Batty is being handily dismissed by a "religious" group whose primary purpose is to ensure that a Mormon doesn't get the nomination.
    Aren't these Evangelicals the most embracing Christians you've ever met?

    December 21, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. 16halo

    No one seems to be on the same page in my party.

    December 21, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  5. JOnes

    This is a PERFECT example of why we need to start taxing religion. Who is this guy telling anyone that he or she should drop out of a election?

    December 21, 2011 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  6. Derek Jerkssen

    Give them guns, back-to-back, 10 paces, turn and fire.

    Two problems solved at once!

    December 21, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. Tektonic

    Dear Jesus,
    I have a disease called "conservatism".
    Please help me overcome it.
    Thank You.

    December 21, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  8. ED FL

    Leave her alone ,the biggest contribution she has made is that the people of Minnesota have seen publically what a dunb choice they made for the congresswoman and she will be job hunting after the election. Maybe she can become a dance instructor at her husbands buisness. She may have to help him after he loses his government grant that she manuevered for him.

    December 21, 2011 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  9. PR

    The Family Leader group is like the old moral majority...they are either. Their morals are flawed or don't exist and they are way short of being a majority. Bachmann and the rest of the right-wing bible thumpers need to crawl back under their rocks and look for the dinosaurs..

    December 21, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  10. Linda Iowa

    Really dislike the caucuses! It is all about power brokering an not the peoples voice.

    December 21, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  11. TM

    So, a "leader" of a small "religious group" is asking a candidate nobody cares about to end her campaign. And the rest of us should care? Why?

    December 21, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  12. Chuk

    Let the divisive bickering begin.

    December 21, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So two Conservative Christians are supporting a man who was thrown out of office in his home state for being too out of touch with his constituents. Sounds legit.
    What surprises me is these guys are supporting a Papist! Isn't that as antithetical as supporting a Mormon?

    December 21, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. mrmew55

    Who the hell cares what these unAmerican, uber-Right Wing, religious bigoted hypocrites think or say?

    December 21, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  15. GOP is lost

    "We said, 'Why would we do that?' "

    Here one reason...because she has a snow ball's chance in hell of winning!

    December 21, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  16. Stoneoak

    There it is ... Finally. proof that the religious right is trying to control political outcomes. outrageous

    December 21, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  17. galaxy101

    No great fan of Bachmann, however, having personally dealt with the group calling themselves The Family Leader, I will no longer listen to any of their ideas, claims or "facts". Nor will I deal with them anymore. Mrs. Bachmann should stay in the race as long as she thinks she remains a viable candidate.

    December 21, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  18. ST

    She can be the front runner in attacking others, BUT she is not clever to understand that polling under 10% can not make anyone a President. Is she doing it for fun or just to get name recognition?

    December 21, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  19. koga

    why do faith leaders think that they have sway or power? a faith leader is just a snake oil salesmen who has been convincing. i'm glad ms bachman didn't bow to his urging (even though she should drop out) since that would only reinforce vander's belief that he is a leader of some sort. with that said, all republican candidates should drop their campaign and support the only true republican, Ron Paul.

    December 21, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. Bill

    It's about time someone from her own "persuasion" stepped up and suggested an obvious course for her career – drop out! Plainly, she's not ready for the most important position in the US and likely the world. These other also-ran's might finally consider the same step, but some are getting tuned up for a run down or a cabinet post the road probably.

    December 21, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  21. susan

    Mr. Platts, perhpas you should vet Mr. Santorum before throwing your support behind him. He lost by a large majority when he lost to Bob Casey. There is a reason for everything. I seriously doubt he is squeaky clean.

    December 21, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  22. rick

    "I'm the one that has the momentum that's shooting up the chart right now," Bachmann said.
    "Yes, and if I am President, I will make the Tooth Fairy Secretary of the Treasury, and Santa Claus Secretary of State".
    This woman is beyond stupid.

    December 21, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  23. Dave

    "He did not say whether we should be president or vice presidential candidate."

    Simple: she should be neither.

    December 21, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |

    Oh Lord Vander Plaats, may I sir, have yur blessing? It's so important to have an association of yours anoint the next president. Since yur closer to Jeezus than the rest of us. And I am gettin out one of them thar enveelopes to send ya'll some hard earned right livin' Christian money so you can preach against that devil from Africa, Obama. Thank you Lord Vander Plaats

    December 21, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  25. blaqmajik

    Take their tax exempt status!

    December 21, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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