Entries in The Family Leader (4)


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


Five GOP Candidates Reject Controversial Marriage Vow

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --Five GOP presidential candidates have refused to sign a controversial marriage pledge, which asks them to support outlawing pornography, upholding the Defense of Marriage Act and creating a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney as well as fellow candidates Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain have not signed the Family Leader's Marriage Vow Pledge, but Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have.

Romney was the first GOP presidential candidate who refused to sign the pledge.

"Mitt Romney strongly supports traditional marriage but he felt this pledge contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign," Romney's campaign said in a statement.

On the campaign trail in Iowa Wednesday, Tim Pawlenty announced his decision not to sign the pledge, and instead released a video discussing his personal faith.

Pawlenty's decision comes just weeks before the Ames straw poll which he desperately needs to do well in. Both Santorum and especially Bachmann pose real threats to Pawlenty in Iowa.

"I deeply respect, and share, Bob Vander Platts' commitment to promoting the sanctity of marriage, a culture of life, and the core principles of the Family Leader’s Marriage Vow Pledge," he continued. "However, rather than sign onto the words chosen by others, I prefer to choose my own words, especially seeking to show compassion to those who are in broken families through no fault of their own."

The Family Leader's choice of words for their Marriage Vow may not have been the wisest.

The Iowa-based conservative group retracted a portion of the pledge's introduction earlier this week that suggested African-American children were better off under slavery than they are today.

Both Bachmann and Santorum signed the pledge while the slavery comments were still intact.

Presidential candidate Herman Cain on Wednesday became the fifth GOP presidential contender to decline to sign the group's marriage pledge.

Although Cain is making a strong play in Iowa where the group, The Family Leader, is based, he said in a statement that while he supports the organization's "commitment to supporting traditional values" his own position "encompasses their values without the need to sign the pledge."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Conservative Group Under Fire over Slavery Comment

Brendan Smialowski/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After two presidential candidates signed onto a pledge supporting traditional marriage values, the pledge’s sponsor retracted a part of the vow that suggested African-American children were better off under slavery.

The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative activist group, removed a sentence Saturday from the introduction of their “Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” that said: "Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was the first to sign the pledge Friday followed closely by fellow candidate Rick Santorum.

Whoopi Goldberg was outraged by the pledge on Monday’s The View saying the slavery reference was “a stupid allegation.”

“You don’t know anything about how slaves raised their kids or why people work together,” Goldberg said. “Just don’t add stuff like that if you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

A Bachmann spokesperson told Politico Saturday that the congresswoman only signed onto the “candidate vow” portion of the pledge, which has no mention of slavery.

"In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible,” Bachmann’s campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart told Politico.

Bachmann “stands behind the candidate vow -- which makes absolutely no reference to slavery." Stewart added.

The candidate vow portion asks signers to reject same-sex marriage, uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, outlaw pornography and reject anti-women Islamic Sharia law.

Santorum said politicians should vow to be faithful to their wives, as the first provision of the candidate vow states. Those who are not faithful cause people to “disrespect and disregard members of Congress,” Santorum said in a Sunday interview on CNN.

“When I first read it I was taken aback. I can’t argue that I wasn’t, but I understand why they’re saying it,” he said. “If we can’t count on you to be faithful to those closest to you how can we count on you to be faithful to those of us you represent?”

Neither Santorum’s nor Bachmann’s campaign was immediately available for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Iowa Social Conservative Group Says They Can’t Reach Mitt Romney

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Leaders of a prominent social conservative group in Iowa that is organizing a series of forums with potential GOP presidential candidates said that they have been getting the cold shoulder from Mitt Romney.

The Family Leader announced on Thursday that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will headline the first installment of its Presidential Lecture Series on Feb. 7 and that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and businessman Herman Cain will also take part in the series over the next few months.

The group also invited former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate, was not listed as one of the invitees.

“We have made several attempts to reach Gov. Romney or those close to him in order to extend an invitation to our Presidential Lecture Series.  None of those attempts have been successful as of today,” said the group’s spokesman Chris Nitzschke.

Political observers have been speculating about whether Romney, who finished second behind Huckabee in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, would skip the state altogether in 2012. He has traveled infrequently to the state since his presidential bid -- a contrast to some of his potential competitors like Pawlenty and Gingrich who have spent considerable time in the Hawkeye State in recent months.

Romney’s office did not respond to a request for comment, but his approach to the Family Leader event is likely to set off renewed speculation about how seriously he plans to compete in the state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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