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. Bachmann-Turner Overdrive

    I disagree with Mr. Vander Plaats. Michele Bachmann needs to stay in the race to make sure every single last American knows that evangelicals like Mr. Vander Plaats are cheap, self-serving hypocrites who thump the bible just has hard as they thump the needy, gay, minority, and disadvantaged among us.

    December 21, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Harry Baxter

    The lady is delusional to the extreme. She reminds me of the story about the guy who falls off the Empire State Building. As he passes the 50th Floor, he thinks: "So far, I'm doing pretty good!".
    She won't be reelected to her current position in Minnesota when she runs again.

    December 21, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. HampdenCalling

    Right, Bachmann would then be even more a Palin wanna-be. Does the evangelical wing of the GOP consider women legitimate presidential material? Crazy as she is, Bachmann made a much more credible run for the presidency than Santorum ever did.

    December 21, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Patriot Awesome

    Don't drop out Michele we need you!

    Obama/Biden 2012!

    December 21, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Clwyd

    Dropping out would be a good idea for this absolutely crazy lady!

    December 21, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. EdwardW

    This isn't surprising. Some religious groups have had their hands steeped in politics and lawmaking for years and used the power of the pulpit to affect elections and legal decisions. Nothing new here. So this isn't surprising at all and the only news is that this group has asked Bachmann to step down instead of asking somebody else. However, if The Family Leader is a 501(c) corporation, they are in violation of the tax laws and should lose their 501(c) status because no 501(c) is allowed to try to deal in politics. The IRS should look into this.

    December 21, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Frank from Gilroy

    "I'm the one that has the momentum that's shooting up the chart right now" This Crazy arce bit*h lives in fantasy land with her absolutly Gay husband.I guess moving from 2% of the vote to 3% is shooting up the chart.

    December 21, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Tony

    HAHA! Admitting to polling above Santorum is like saying, "Well, at least I didn't come in last place."

    December 21, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. 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.

    you didn't post it

    December 21, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Ed Burke

    This is exactly what I've always wanted -- a Bachmann/Santorum ticket or vice versa, with Palin as their choice for Secretary of State. That would be the end of the religious right's influence in the Republican Party, and the GOP could then get back to being what it always was – the party of moderation and fiscal responsibility.

    December 21, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. davec.0121

    This 'news' highlights how twisted, distorted, and non-representative the nominating process has become. The evangelicals are a minority of the Republicans in Iowa, and completely unrepresentative of the nationwide electorate. However, because Iowa has the first caucases and because the evangelicals are motivated to participate, they suddenly assume an importance wildly out of proportion to their numbers, with the concommitant pandering to their positions by the candidates. This distortion is created, aided, and abetted by the intense media coverage, which explicitly attaches huge electoral significance to a miniscule and totally non-representative sampling of the electorate. There's something very wrong with a system in which a small fringe element in one or two locations can have such a huge impact on the outcome of the nominating process.

    December 21, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. K3Citizen

    Michelle Bachmann has no chance of winning so the only reason she is in there is so she can get rich like Sarah Palin did. I have a better chance of winning the presidency than she does.

    December 21, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. rs

    As much as I know I would never vote for Ms. Bachmann (for any variety of reasons), I think it is terribly important to aknowledge that these little, oft-times radical church (Christian?), single social issue groups, wingnut political bodies simply need to be told to butt out! This is a political process, and Bachmann has every right at this stage to run.

    December 21, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. Madtown

    No! Don't force Bachmann out, think of the comedy we'd miss! The race is more entertaining with her in it, and certainly much funnier than it would be otherwise.

    December 21, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. sf

    What does one loon tell another loon? "hey, you're loonier than me"....religious idiots and bachmann are one in the same! they should ALL stay out of politics/government.

    December 21, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. unsub

    she can't drop out! where would i get my laughs!

    December 21, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. James

    I Just thought about how racist an bigoted the GOP is. When the Democrats have a black man and a Women Running in their Primary,Four Years later Republicans Decide that Women And Blacks can run in their primary.

    December 21, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. RG

    Bye bye Michele, bye bye.

    December 21, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Toad 390

    I actually feel sorry for the people of NW Iowa. The man is an idiot and has proved it on more than one occassion. He should not be given any media attention until he can prove he actually represents other peoples opinions.

    December 21, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. FIELD1stSGT

    There are more false prophets out there than you think. Being Obama is the leader of the Muslim world in America. Once he is gone and with his followers America will once again turn to being the leader of the free world. Until Obama is rid of there is no safe haven in America.

    December 21, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Vince

    It's amazing to watch a group of Republican PET ROCKS jockey for the nomination and then get worked over by right wing Christian "Silver Tongue Devils". It would be funny if it wasn't so scary...

    December 21, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. GoBruins!

    Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas, albeit a few days early for the latter.

    I'm a gay-friendly, pro-family, liberal from Massachusetts. I'm with President Obama! Of the lot of them, he truly stands for family values! These other organizations have an alterior motive for their actions and it's not championing "family values"!

    December 21, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. Vic of New York

    The Family Leader should really endorse Lucifer. First, he would REALLY heat things up. Second, when it comes to slight of hand and beguiling spin on a story – there's not a single Republican today who can hold a candle to Lucifer. Hell, not even FOX can spin a story like Luc ! In conclusion, The Family Leader has it all wrong. If they are looking for a guy who hasn't changed his position on social values in a billion years, Luc is your guy.

    December 21, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Waiting for a candidate

    Chapter 4: The Christian's Throw Each Other to the Lions

    December 21, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. hypatia

    I cannot stand Bachmann but who does this fundie yahoo think he is? Separation of church and state! I hope his God has made sure the IRS is aware of his political meddling and acts accordingly.

    December 21, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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