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. MnTaxpayer

    This is an example of how corrupted our political system is. If "Prominent Iowa faith leader Bob Vander Plaats" wants to endorse one candidate or another, that's just fine and he should. But to directly contact a candidate and ask them to "dramatically alter her White House plans, according to the Bachmann campaign, including the possibility of dropping her presidential bid altogether" seems a bit extreme and very arrogant. We don't need religious leaders selecting our candidates for us. I am not a Bachmann suporter, I don't think she has the slightest chance of being the GOP nominee, but Vander Platts needs to show a little 'faith' in the people and allow them to choose their own candidate.

    December 21, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. M

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

    Here's a hint, Alice. If he called and asked your candidate to "merge" her campaign, he wasn't asking her to be the presidential candidate and take on someone else as her VP candidate. It's assumed that a presidential candidate will pick someone to run for VP. Either you're being deliberately disingenuous, or you have no idea how a presidential campaign works. In any case, let me help you. He was asking your candidate to quit. Simple as that.

    December 21, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Boston Guy

    Again another hateful, controling, bigot Faith Leader saying do it my way or you are nothing.

    December 21, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. marcia

    I would bet that this "faith leader" is a great big phony himself! Bet he doesn't care one bit for the family...just wants the attention and the money!

    December 21, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. conoclast

    Ah yes, Iowa. Which of the republican Kartoon Kandidates will the Iowa religious right endorse? What a study in utter irrelevance! Will isolationist, home-schooler zealots pick us a "winner"? Stay tuned; it's only going to get uglier! Film at eleven.

    December 21, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. gg

    what a sad bunch

    December 21, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. lynn

    Please don't drop out Michelle, you give the race for the WH some laughs.

    December 21, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Please go back to your stupid clinic and examine your own empty head.

    December 21, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. sortakinda

    "I'm the one that has the momentum that's shooting up the chart right now," Bachmann said. Will SOMEONE take the hand gun away from this wacko?

    December 21, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Gurgi

    Condi Rice and Bachman as president and vice president???? Naaahhhh, Condi would need to pick someone else.

    December 21, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Michelle....Michelle...Michelle

    Oh Michelle, just back out now and don't waste votes. You're not a "serious candidate" for president even though you think so. Like your pal Sarah P., you stir the pot nicely but really offer very little in the way of solutions for what pains our country. Voters aren't taking you seriously, imagine how Congress would respond to you.

    December 21, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. max

    Why would another candidate consider association with her to be a positive? her base may be fanatical but she is a poison to anyone that wants to win.

    December 21, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. nyc

    Someone told me that Michelle Bachmann and Kevin Garnett were involved in a heated affair when he played basketball in Minnesota? Is that true?

    December 21, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. RexCraigo

    Pander, pander, pander.

    December 21, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. DJ in Texas

    Endorsements from infividual groups, in my opinion are not good. They'll wnat something in return. It means governing for a select few and not the country as a whole. Governing from the far fringes of EITHER side is not good for the masses of the American public. A statement was posed to Santorum the other day – he wants to restrict the right of gays to marry, but at the same time asks for their vote. If you're only going to govern for the people who vote for you, what does that do to the rest of us.

    As for Bachman, I don't think she'll ever get the nomination, but neither would Santorum. I 100% DISAGREE with everything she says, but it is ridiculous for this guy to ask her to drop out when his own organizatoin can't even pick a person to endorse as a whole.

    December 21, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. Donaldbain

    Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Since when do "evangelicals" comprise the majority of American voters? It is time for people that don't vote to step up and push these superstitious cultists to the fringe and out of politics altogether. Personally, an endorsement from one of these groups would put a candidate on my "not" list. Asking Bachmann to leave the campaign in favor of Santorum is HILARIOUS. Neither one has a hope in hell of becoming president. No way, no how!

    December 21, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. mfx3

    People have been asking her to get real since she decided to run.

    December 21, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Thomas

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

    Is Bachmann actually speaking in the royal "we"?

    I find it amazing that she really thinks she is still in this race. She just does not get it.

    December 21, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Brenda

    So sad to "deny" Mitt Romney the nomination due to his faith and then hide that behind "scant" visits.

    December 21, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. toby

    anyone directed by a faith leader loses my vote, automatically. Keep faith out of this. Faith won't help the poor and middle class. Honestly, we'd be better off with an Atheist. At least they are held accountable and don't have the support of some imaginary character from a 2000 year old book.

    December 21, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. hjs3

    Please someone pull the plug on this circus and spare America anymore of the

    December 21, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. Seth

    Why are people even beginning to consider any candidate with the word "Former" in their description in media? They weren't re-elected for a reason–the constituency they represented wanted them gone. So if we can assume (I know, dangerous) that most people are reasonable when they make their votes in choosing the better of two candidates OR the lesser of two evils, why would we want them back?

    December 21, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Tears rolling down my cheeks

    Laughing soo loud: "He did not say whether we should be president or vice presidential candidate". Ehmmm, Michelle, first you have to get the votes. You hardly have any.
    Second, since when is a "faith leader" a king maker. Last I checked there is still a democratic process in place in this country.

    December 21, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Salad Spinner

    Why would any politician listen to a fabricator of fables?

    December 21, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |

    What? Not enough hate to go around? Don't want to split the hate vote? Why end the comedy show at its peak?

    December 21, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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