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December 20th, 2011

Live Blog: The Family Leader Endorsement Announcement

 The Family Leader Endorsement

Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley endorse Rick Santorum individually. The Family Leader as an organization decides not to endorse.

10:32 The Family Leader organization will not play a role in the Iowa Caucus. They will remain neutral.

“its hard to imagine that our endorsement, two weeks out could make that big of a difference,” BVP says.

10:34 BVP: “As the CEO of The Family was my hope and goal that we would have unanimity on our board…. I’m here to tell you that we’ve reached unanimity. Everybody is on the same page.”

10:35 “We are unanimous that The Family Leader as an organization will not take a side in the Iowa Caucus.”

10:36 “The board is allowing us to step out with a leadership voice as individuals and collectively as individuals, they are allowing us to step out.

10:37 “Therefore my personal endorsement: I told this person at the time the time that he could be the Huckabee in this race.

1038  Bob Vander Plaats endorses Rick Santorum.

10:38 “I, as an individual, am going to endorse Rick Santorum. I am going to mobilize my forces to advocate for him…”

10:39 “I believe Rick Santorum comes from us… he comes from us. He’s one of us.”

Chuck Hurley announcing his endorsement now.

10:40 Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center, also endorses Rick Santorum.

10:41 Hurley: ” We’re both primarily animated by pro-life, pro-family convictions.”

10:41 Chuck Hurley: “I would have preferred that we endorse as a team…I hope there will be a coalescing, just like we did three years ago we worked as team to defeat the three judges…”

10:43 Hurley says some supporters are angry that he chose sides.

10:44 “I believe in this age of Twitter, that we’re not too late… “. They wanted to make a decision sooner.

10:44 Hurley: “What sold me on Rick Santorum. He meets and exceeds the Biblical qualifications… Rick is capably, God fearing and trustworthy… He reminded us all that economics is a family issue…”

10:46 Hurley: “I’m endorsing Rick because national and state leaders…. pastors like Cary Gordon, Terry Amann… I encourage all caucus goers to take a strong look at Rick, study the issues and pray hard…”

10:47 Chuck said a supporter “threatened to burn Bob’s body” for this endorsement. They’re hoping to make amends with that person. Says he is a “dear friend.”   “If there is fallout from today’s endorsement, it is Bob and I’s mission to work toward reconciliation…”

10:48 “Until that individual deals with their own anger problem…it hurts our opportunity to win back the Iowa Senate.” Hmmm..

10:49 BVP: “I’ll do whatever the Santorum campaign wants out of me or how I best can be used. Remember, there’s only two weeks left. I will do whatever I can. This is not a light endorsement, this is not an on paper endorsement…. Rick Santorum is the one candidate who has not caught his wave yet.. I really believe there’s a movement.. I really believe Rick Santorum has an opportunity to do well on caucus night…”

10:50 BVP: “In a typical year, if you come in two weeks out, there’s no way your endorsement’s going to have an impact. But I’ve never seen a caucus like this…”

10:51 Chuck Hurley: “This isn’t about one person. This isn’t just about Rick Santorum…. I refuse to take a swing at somebody (one of the other candidates) and diminish what they think is their God ordained role. Why can’t the top three pro-family candidates come together and figure out who is the best candidate…Those people could quickly vault to the top of the poll and win the Iowa Caucuses and win the nomination…”

10:54 BVP: “It would make it a lot easier if one candidate, or two candidates, would coalesce… Our fear all along was that the conservatives would fragment their vote… Our goal is today is to say is that in our assessment of the candidate.. we believe Rick Santorum is the best one to launch out of Iowa right now.”

10:55 BVP: “The unanimity that the board reached on Friday was, ‘It would be great if there was a team approach.’ Basically, they want Perry and Bachmann to drop out and back Santorum.

10:56 BVP: “We also recognize that we have some supporters that are supporting other candidates… “

10:57 BVP: “I believe he (Santorum) is ready for a January 3 surprise.. and hopefully this gives him a stamp of credibility.”

10:58 BVP: “We really like and you know I think that I really like Speaker Gingrich… We’re not going to say anything bad about Speaker Gingrich. If Speaker Gingrich emerges and becomes the nominee.. I’ll fully get behind Speaker Gingrich.”

10:59 BVP: The decision culminated yesterday.

10:59  BVP: “We reached unanimity that The Family Leader thoroughly did its job… ” .. “We believe that since the organization is a standard bearer, that it need to remain neutral…”

11:00 Hurley: “It’s about the country. It’s got to be about others and not themselves…. And I would say to Rick Santorum that if somebody else is a better executive than Rick Santorum, then get behind somebody else… “

11:02 Hurley: “This calls for a team concept and I call for that.”

11:02 BVP: “I haven’t informed the Santorum campaign.”

11:03 Jamie Johnson, Santorum’s state coalitions director, taking the podium. Says they were not informed ahead of time. “I came out here this morning to show my solidarity with The Family Leader, with Bob Vander Plaats….. and that’s why I’m here. I only happened to walk in the door and realize that the man I’ve been working for, Rick Santorum, is who they’re endorsing.”

11:04 BVP-answering question about why The Family Leader didn’t endorse. “We’re not a kingmaker. We’re a standard bearer…. We have a lot of people that support The Family Leader and some of them support different candidates…. “

11:05 That’s it, the press conference is over. Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley, the two leaders of The Family Leader, endorse Rick Santorum. The organization stays neutral.

Thanks for reading along.

Photo by Dave Davidson,

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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