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. wnyguy

    Why are these religious organizations getting more and more involved in politics? When will the IRS do their job and start revolking their tax exempt status?

    December 21, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Sexism-Why didn't he ask Santorum, Perry, or Huntsman to leave??? Michelle has a lot of support in Iowa-This person asking Michelle to leave should stick to religion and keep his nose out of politics.

    December 21, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. bigfruitbasket

    How about Bachmann opting out of this world and to another planet?

    December 21, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. 5041360

    these family values folks are the slime in the pond- they prey on the undereducated and take their $$$ – offer them salvation- they are the snake oil salesmen of old- give a good speech – take your $$ and get out of town.

    Santorum/bauchman two of the craziest candidates , the rest of them are the same.

    December 21, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. GOP just don't get it.

    "I'm the one that has the momentum that's shooting up the chart right now," Bachmann said. Really? What polls? Not from the real American people; the ones from here on earth.

    "He did not say whether we should be president or vice presidential candidate." How about neither! Bachman, you've been told several times by voters on the ground in your face, to include several young students that you don't belong anywhere near 1000ft from the WH.

    When can you, your "doubled-life style" husband and campaign team will get the message. The GOP already made up their minds for this cycle, and you are not it, and never will be!

    December 21, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. brian

    Where have all the Christians gone, all I see is a bunch of political hacks trying to get their own political hack elected!!! These people would have turned Christ over to the Romans without a second thought

    December 21, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. bayou2

    Mitt, keep sucking up to those nice christians, they want you less that they want Obama.

    December 21, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. Bessy

    If this woman had any brains at all she would take the advice of Bob Vander Platts. She is having a hallucination if she thinks she is moving up the charts. Of course Vander Platts isn't operating with a full deck either if he thinks Rick Santorum is a good candidate.

    December 21, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  9. Crys

    Ok, so let me get this straight. An evangelical leader who likely believes that only men should have major leadership positions is telling the lone female GOP presidential candidate to drop out of the race. How is that surprising?

    December 21, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Jason

    Bachmann WINS!

    The orderly just opened the drapes and I can see Texas through the bars in the window. Ron Paul lives in Texas. My Bachmann says if I behave by her, I will get 2 meals today, and have the opportunity to watch clouds pass by from the west tower. Its so cold here..

    December 21, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. Florida Joe

    "And obviously, we didn't even consider that," Stewart added. "We said, 'Why would we do that?' "
    Ah....because you have NO CHANCE of winning? Because you can't string 2 thoughts together without tripping over yourself? Because you are just too dumb.............too many more to write.........Say goodnight, the party's over

    December 21, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  12. Skitownrefugee

    If Vander Plaats asks her to end her campaign for president – who is she to say no. Isn't he more in touch with God than she is – after all, he's some kind of protastant minister I suspect. I love the name of his outfit "The Family Leader". Vander Plaats speaks for the family and for God so exit stage right Michelle >>>>>>>

    December 21, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. fedup

    Give it up mad bat and go home and fix your records, because Medicare/medicaid fraud and abuse will come after you and your husband for that phony program your raping the tax payers of. beware of fox prophets.

    December 21, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. Return To Sender

    I think Romney is going to be the Republican candidate.

    Bachmann and Gingrich are way too far to the right. In the end, normal people will want the normal candidate.

    December 21, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. bachmanntwit

    These bible bangers can't wait to launch us forward to the 12th century.

    December 21, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Canuck

    Seperation of church and state??

    December 21, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. OhioGal

    So the "Family Leader" is so family oriented that they actually considered Newt Gingerich, the man who values family so highly that he destroyed his own family twice and they expect us to take their views seriously.

    December 21, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. JR White Bear Lake MN.

    BAD IDEA....BAD IDEA!!! Bob you mine your own business. I live in Minnesota and we don't want her back just yet. We haven't figured out what to do with her.

    December 21, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. SAI

    Some one should explain to Ms. Bachman that IQ scores of individuals are not additive, and that even if she and Perry team up (or she and Palin; or she and Cain), the IQ of the team will still remain in the 60's and not add up to over 120. Am offering this helpful pointer as it is reasonably certain that none of the remaining candidates might want such an alliance.

    December 21, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  20. NVa Native

    "Faith Leader"???? What kind of politically correct crap is that?! This guy might be a religious leader of some kind of "faith" but labeling him a faith leader is just a suck-up!

    December 21, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. Kevin

    I think it's absurd that an organization would call a candidate and ask them to suspend their campaign, especially one who isn't even endorsing Bachmann. Why in the world do we listen to these people and how do they hold sway? It's just appalling how close minded some Americans have become that they have to be told by a Christian organization who to vote for. Think for yourself.

    December 21, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Terry

    Oops......Now the God Followers are after her. It could be worse Michele, it could be the God Father after you!

    December 21, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Alan J

    This man was trying to save her from further embarrasing herself and more importantly the GOP. Which how can you do the GOP anymore damage than it's already had? This lady is a joke and a farce. Does even know basic civics or the constitution. i want to know how she got a Law License, really. She didn't even know that Libya is in Africa!!!!!

    December 21, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. Rand Paul

    Now she'll have lots of time to pray the gay away as she deepthroats another corndog. What a serious waste of money her campain was. She was selfish to think her evil agenda had a chance, and that wasted money could have built lots of schools, or churches. LOL. What a flake with no message to spread.

    December 21, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. Mike's Opinion

    They can endorse all they want, but middle America is never going to elect one of these Christian-Taliban whack jobs as President.

    December 21, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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