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The Family Leader
  • Did Bob Vander Plaats's Endorsement Come with a Bill?

    An endorsement from Bob Vander Plaats can do a lot for a presidential candidate's chances in the early days of Republican primary. As the president and CEO of The Family Leader — the most influential Christian/conservative political organization in Iowa — a nod of his stately head in your direction can make or break your chances in the state's all-important caucuses.

    So, shouldn't an endorsement from Plaats be worth a little something to a hard-working candidate like Rick Santorum? I'm not talking about a lot here. Just a little something to wet Plaats's beak. Like, say, one million dollars

    Less than 48-hours after receiving the backing of Bob 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

    "Clearly the endorsement was for sale — without a doubt," one source said. It's a charge that The Family Leader flatly denied…

    Though Santorum did not specify the dollar amount he and Vander Plaats discussed, multiple sources said he was soliciting as much as $1 million from Santorum and other candidates.

    Whaaaaat?! That sounds insane! There's no way that a conservative Christian political leader with eyes on public office would ever be caught doing anything that could be construed as shady! There's certainly no history of such accusations…

    ABC News has learned that Vander Plaats tried to solicit money for his endorsement during the last presidential cycle too. A former staffer for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential bid who is currently unaffiliated with a campaign said Vander Plaats came to them seeking money for his backing if he supported the former Massachusetts governor.

    "He wanted to be paid," the former staffer said. "He was clearly looking for a paycheck. There was a conversation about him getting a title, but being a paid consultant was much more important."

    Given the fact that Plaats's endorsement ultimately went to Mike Huckabee, we can probably make an educated guess as to how that Romney deal went.

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Bob Vander Plaats, Christianity, Conservatives, Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Money, Primaries, Religion, Republicans, Rick Santorum, The Family Leader
  • Anti-Gay Candidate Rick Santorum Somehow Nabs Valuable Anti-Gay Endorsement

    Well, this is a complete shock! I don't see how anybody could have possibly guess such a thing could ever happen

    Bob Vander Plaats, who has sought to put his imprint on the Republican presidential race for months, announced Tuesday that he would support Mr. Santorum. Mr. Vander Plaats and other evangelical Christians have talked openly about their struggle to unite behind one candidate, but he urged others to follow his lead…

    At this late stage in the campaign, it remains an open question how the endorsement will affect the Iowa caucus campaign. Mr. Vander Plaats’s political activity, including leading the effort to remove three judges from the Iowa Supreme Court last year in a battle over same-sex marriage, has made him a lightening rod in some Republican circles.

    The Family Leader, a conservative group that Mr. Vander Plaats formed after losing the Republican governor’s race in Iowa last year, narrowed its choices last month to Mr. Santorum, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

    Bob Vander Plaats and all the other people associated with The Family Leader are obviously people who, not care deeply about repressing the all-encompassing encroachment of secularism, but also spend a lot of time and energy studying and ultimately becoming fearful the effects of the homosexual lifestyle on the American family. So, it makes perfect sense that they would want to throw their weight behind a candidate who shared their worldview.

    And, I'm sorry, but for my money, there's no candidate who screams "fearful" "repressed" and "homosexual" like Rick Santorum.

    Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images

    Tags: Bob Vander Plaats, Christianity, LGBT, Primaries, Religion, Republicans, Rick Santorum, The Family Leader
  • Newt Gingrich Promises America He Won't Cheat on His Wife Anymore

    Only a few weeks ago, Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign resembled an earnest attempt at the White House a lot less than it did a half-hearted marketing campaign for whichever of his books he had released the week prior. But now that he is inexplicably waaaay up in the polls less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, he seems to have a newfound sense of gravity for his efforts.

    So — you might be asking — just how serious is Newt Gingrich about becoming the GOP nominee reallyThis serious

    Gingrich, who has been married three times, specifically said he would "uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others."

    Gingrich made the pledge to The Family Leader, a socially conservative group based in Iowa.

    "Personal fidelity to [his] spouse"?! The ultimate sacrifice! Does he even understand what that entails. That doesn't just mean a tapering down on getting blowjobs in the backseat of his limo. It means no blowjobs at all. And no handjobs or footjobs or nubjobs. Zero to all of it!

    Wow, he must really love America to make a promise like that.

    I just hope that we, as a nation, don't come down with cancer or something like that.

    Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Marriage Equality, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Religion, Republicans, Sex, The Family Leader
  • Rick Perry Vows to Defend Marriage When He's President of Nothing

    In order to become a GOP candidate, you have to agree to more terms and conditions than an iTunes user. Not only do you have to agree to Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge, but now it's become increasingly popular to sign the The Family Leader's Marriage Vow.

    Now that they took out all the super offensive stuff about slavery, looks like the racially sensitive Rick Perry is all aboard

    A few days after appearing at a Family Leader forum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest GOP presidential candidate to sign the group’s controversial marriage pledge…

    Family Leader head Bob Vander Plaats has said signing the pledge will be a prerequisite for the group’s endorsement, one coveted among candidates seeking to nab the evangelical vote.

    Remember when Republicans fancied themselves mavericks? Would a maverick sign a pledge just to win votes? Would John Wayne sign that pledge? Would Mel Gibson in the movie Maverick sign that pledge? More pertinently, would a man who's already broken the pledge twice sign that pledge?

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has indicated he would sign it if he could make a few modifications.

    Maybe something along the lines of "Marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman, give or take a few."


    Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Grover Norquist, Marriage, Marriage Equality, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Perry, The Family Leader
  • LiveBlogging the GOP Thanksgiving Family Forum Debate in Iowa, Sat. 11/19 @ 5/4c

    Another GOP debate is upon us. But wait, don't leave! This one's special — it's all about the family. Expect all your favorite family-oriented topics to come up, from why abortion is wrong to why homosexuality is also wrong.

    Join us here and @TheInDecider Saturday, 11/19 at 5/4c for real-time coverage of the debate, which you can watch online at

    P.S. Although Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman won't be attending, stay on the lookout for a surprise guest question from Jesus.

    Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

    Tags: Debates, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Liveblog, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, The Family Leader