Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” this morning, where she confirmed that Evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader, called her over the weekend to discuss the future of her candidacy.
Based on Bachmann’s words, it appears that the reported discussion about her potentially dropping out of the race was accurate. In addition to allegedly asking the congresswoman to drop her presidential bid, Vander Plaats also purportedly asked her to get behind either Rick Perry or Rick Santorum.
But Mediaite’s Nando Di Fino reports that Bachmann has no intention of bowing to this call, as she claims she has consistently polled better than either of the candidates she was apparently asked to support.
“I did receive a phone call,” Bachmann said on Fox. “[But] I’ve been polling above the Ricks. There would be no reason for me to drop out.” She made similar comments on CBS’s Early Show, saying, “It didn’t make sense because my numbers have always been above Senator Santorum’s.”
CNN has more corroboration from the Bachmann camp:
“[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?’”
On Tuesday, Politico initially reported that the phone call in question took place on Saturday, just three days before Vander Plaats announced that he would be endorsing Santorum. Here’s a portion from the Politico piece:
Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats called Michele Bachmann and urged her to drop out of the race and endorse Rick Santorum, a source with knowledge of the conversation told POLITICO Tuesday. [...]
Evangelical, social conservatives have splintered between Santorum, Bachmann and Rick Perry in this year’s Iowa race. That dilution has left their leaders worried about the diminished influence they’ll have on picking the caucus winner, and ultimately, the Republican nominee.
Chuck Hurley, the president of the Iowa Family Policy Center who endorsed Santorum alongside Vander Plaats, said the Christian conservative movement would be better off if coalescing around a single candidate.
See Bachmann’s appearance on Fox, below, where she confirms that she “did receive a phone call” (around the 2:10 mark):
While Bachmann was somewhat vague about the discussion she had with Vander Plaats, it seems there are some discrepancies between his account of the conversation and her own. According to the Hill, Vander Plaats told CNN:
“It would make it a lot easier if a couple of them would team up. I talked to a few candidates and I said, ‘I’m not saying what you should do, I’m not telling you to drop out or anything of that nature, but if you like another candidate, maybe you and the other candidate should get together and say, hey, can we make something work where it’s a team deal.’”
It seems there’s a disconnect here. It will be interesting to see how the back-and-forth unfolds, as it seems someone isn’t being completely honest about what was said.