Entries in Bob Vander Plaats (3)


Santorum’s Savior Looks Past Iowa

AFP/Getty Images(SIOUX CITY, Iowa) -- Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa Christian leader who endorsed Rick Santorum just before the candidate surged to success in the caucuses Tuesday night, isn’t done yet.

The head of the conservative and religious Family Leader organization told ABC News on Wednesday that he’s been making flurries of calls to like-minded faith leaders in New Hampshire and South Carolina to build support for Santorum in those states’ primaries over the next few weeks.

Vander Plaats said he had made 12 to 15 calls to “pro-family” leaders in those states on Wednesday alone, but he wouldn’t say with whom he’s spoken, citing their privacy.

Santorum hovered near last place in Iowa until shortly after Vander Plaats supported him, an endorsement that was marred partially by suspicion that money was involved but which ultimately led to the former Pennsylvania senator’s coming in second to Mitt Romney, who led by just eight votes.

“There was this real bubble of support that was just waiting to burst,” said Vander Plaats, who called the allegations that he demanded money from Santorum “baseless.” “We just needed to put a stamp of credibility or a credibility poke....So hopefully, we were able to do something like that, and people then took note.”

Vander Plaats, who was with Santorum on Tuesday night as some of the caucus results arrived, is now publicly calling for Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich to drop out and support Santorum so that he can face Romney alone in South Carolina, a state with a heavy evangelical population.

“The sooner we can get this to a one-on-one with Mitt Romney, the better for Rick Santorum, because Romney does not want a one-on-one,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Fails to Get One Endorsement, But Is Grilled About Another

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ADEL, Iowa) -- Just over a week before the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum stood next to a coveted endorsement he did not receive on Monday while being grilled about one he did nab last week.

The day after Christmas, Santorum went pheasant hunting with Iowa Rep. Steve King, who has yet to back a candidate although Iowans will caucus on Jan. 3.  The two held a press conference afterwards, but King did not endorse Santorum or anyone and instead said it was just a hunting trip with a “friend.”

“I came here to shoot pheasants today with my friend Rick Santorum and we are having a great, great day.  I’m going to deliberate on all of this and I’ve got a few days yet before a decision has to be made,” King said.

When asked if he was leaning towards the candidate he was standing next to, King joked, “Yes,” before physically leaning toward Santorum, adding he would “prefer to not discuss” a possible endorsement because he wanted to “enjoy the day.”

King said he thought he would have backed one of the GOP candidates three months ago, but he still hasn’t made his decision.

“Part of this is the dynamics of the entire race and I’ve said I want my head and my heart to come together.  When that happens and if that happens I’ll jump in with both feet and I hope it’s not after the ship’s already left, but it may be,” he said.

Santorum, meanwhile, found himself being asked by reporters about another endorsement, that of conservative Christian leader Bob Vander Plaats, who backed the former Pennsylvania senator last week.  The endorsement has been mired in controversy since it happened over whether Vander Plaats asked for cash in exchange for his public support.

Less than 48 hours after receiving the backing of Vander Plaats, the head of the prominent evangelical group The Family Leader, Santorum disclosed that the prominent Iowan told him he needed money to make the most out of the endorsement.

ABC News reported last week that Vander Plaats was soliciting as much as $1 million from Santorum and other candidates.

On the deck of Doc’s Hunt Club in Adel, Iowa, Santorum stood by Vander Plaats’ endorsement saying he was “happy” he received it and he doesn’t “see it as any trouble,” before blaming the firestorm around the endorsement on rival campaigns.

“Obviously some people who didn’t get the endorsement are trying to stir the pot to make it what it isn’t.  And it’s an endorsement based on the fact that they looked at the candidates and they looked at the candidate who fit the profile, who had the courage to go out and fight for the issues that conservatives care about,” Santorum said Monday.  “I think that’s why Bob Vander Plaats did what he did and that’s why others have stepped forward to do the same.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Santorum Gets Big Boost from Iowa Christian Conservative Leaders

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(URBANDALE, Iowa) -- Rick Santorum got a big Iowa endorsement Tuesday from one of the state’s social conservative leaders, which could help with the splintered Christian evangelical community.

Bob Vander Plaats backed the former Pennsylvania senator just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, calling him “the Huckabee in this race.”

“I saw him as a champion for the family in the U.S. House, I saw him as a champion for the family in the U.S. Senate. I saw him as a champion for the family on the campaign trail,” Vander Plaats said. “I believe Rick Santorum comes from us, just not to us, he comes from us. He’s one of us so I look forward to the next two weeks so I can see what I can do to advance his candidacy to see if we can get him out of the state of Iowa.”

Vander Plaats heads up The Family Leader, a social conservative organization that has never endorsed before, but said that they would this cycle. The board deliberated up until Monday night and Vander Plaats said the board “reached unanimity” that The Family Leader as an organization would not endorse.

Chuck Hurley who heads the Iowa Family Policy Center, part of The Family Leader, also chose to endorse Santorum outside of his organization. In a press conference set up for the announcement, Hurley cited Santorum‘s commitment to socially conservative issues, adding that he was persuaded by the fact that the Santorum family home schooled their children, as he did.

In the last cycle, home school advocates and the broader evangelical community were able to coalesce around Mike Huckabee ensuring his victory over Mitt Romney despite the ten million dollars he poured into Iowa.

The deliberations were both testy and dramatic with Hurley saying Vander Plaats receiving threats before making his decision.

Hurley ended by telling Iowa caucus-goers “to take a close look at Rick, to study the scripture, to pray hard and vote their conscience, above all we answer to God for our vote.”

Santorum’s Coalitions director Jamie Johnson said the endorsement will give a big boost to the campaign in Iowa and across the country and the backing will help voters give Santorum a “second look” as well as help with much-needed campaign funds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio