The Family Leader Wants a Winner, While Bachmann Pushes for Religious Right Support

After narrowing their decision to four candidates in the Republican field, The Family Leader is set to announce their endorsement on Monday…or their decision not to endorse at all. With the caucus less than a month away, Bob Vander Plaats claims that their desired candidate must not only be conservative but must also have the strength to defeat Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination and ultimately President Obama. While Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry have all signed The Family Leader’s pledge, Newt Gingrich recently penned a letter committing to their right-wing agenda and pledging faithfulness to his third wife. The conservative Iowa Republican reports:

Bob Vander Plaats and his Family Leader organization plan to make a decision on whether or not to make an endorsement, and whom they might endorse, by next Monday. The group’s backing is one of the most sought after in the GOP presidential race, especially in Iowa.



“That’s going be a great question, because if you read the pledge that he wrote and submitted, there’s a lot of our verbiage in there,” Vander Plaats said. “He takes some strong stances on life, marriage and religious freedom. As we read it, we wondered why he didn’t sign the pledge, but he did almost everything we talked about and used a similar language.”



Vander Plaats says he is looking for an “authentic conservative”, but adds that viability is one of the issues The Family Leader will consider when picking their candidate. “If you’re going to beat Obama, then you also have to beat Romney to get the nomination,” The Family Leader CEO said. “If we were to endorse on what we’re looking for, we’re looking for a very conservative principled, but we’re also looking for someone who can win.”

While Vander Plaats may be concerned about electability, the campaign of the very-unelectable Michele Bachmann organized a group of the state’s Religious Right leaders, including Danny Carroll of The Family Leader, to promote her struggling campaign:

A group of conservative Christian faith leaders are hitting the road to urge conservatives to caucus for Michele Bachmann – not the race’s frontrunner, Newt Gingrich.

 

“Frankly, we’re looking to shake things up a little bit,” former Iowa Rep. Danny Carroll, a conservative Republican from Grinnell, told reporters at a news conference at the Iowa Capitol this morning.

The pastors delicately made it clear that they don’t think Gingrich is the best choice for president. Nor is Rick Santorum, a religious conservative who has been courting the evangelical vote in Iowa.

“(Gingrich) is tremendous in debates,” said Brad Sherman, an evangelical Christian minister with Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville. “Part of me wants to say I’d love to see him debate Obama because I think he would chew him up. But I have to live by principle – and Michele Bachmann has proved it.”



Carroll said during the news conference: “We have determined that Michele Bachmann is Biblically-qualified to be the president, to be a leader. She is capable. She is trustworthy. She fears God and she hates dishonest gain.”

Iowans should to go to the caucuses on Jan. 3 “unless you support someone other than Michele Bachmann. Then you should take the night off,” he said.

Carroll and various faith leaders are embarking on an eight-city tour of Iowa – Oskaloosa, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Mason City, Council Bluffs and Sioux City – to call on Christians “to be informed.”