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August 6th, 2012

FAMiLY Leadership Summit Boasts All Star Line Up

In many respects, 2012 has been a quiet year for Bob Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY Leader.  While the caucuses launched the year with a bang and Vander Plaats was given some credit for Rick Santorum’s Iowa caucus victory, things have quieted down since the presidential circus has left town.

In 2011, the FAMiLY Leader held multiple events every month as part of their presidential lecture series.  Then there was the marriage pledge and the controversy that followed it.  In the fall, the Family Leader’s Thanksgiving presidential forum was one of the big events leading up to the caucuses.  Speculation followed as people waited to see whom Vander Plaats would support.

Since 2009, Vander Plaats has either been running for governor, been involved in presidential politics, or he’s been trying to oust Iowa Supreme Court justices who were part of the Varnum decision.  With the general election now in full swing, Vander Plaats is organizing what could be one of the premier political events before the November election.

With Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Texas Governor Rick Perry all set to speak at the event on Saturday, the event might feel like it is caucus time all over again.   According to Vander Plaats, his goal is to engage activists and get them fired up for the upcoming election and beyond.

Five reasons to attend the FAMiLY Leader’s Leadership Summit

1. Santorum v. Huckabee

The winners of the last two Iowa caucuses, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, are the headliners for the event.  While both appealed to the same type of voter, it’s going to be fascinating to see how the crowd reacts to both.  Huckabee has gone on to become a successful TV and Radio personality, but Santorum’s future may depend on how Romney fairs in November.  Nevertheless, it’s going to be interesting to see whom the crowd loves more.

2. What is Rick Perry Up To?

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s participation in the event is another signal that he may be interested in another presidential run in the future.  Perry is also scheduled to speak at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall fundraiser later this year.  After bursting onto the scene in August, Perry stumbled badly and never was really in contention as the caucuses neared.  If he wants to be a viable presidential candidate in the future, he will have to do some damage control.  Maybe that is why he’s coming to Iowa twice this fall.

3. Joel Rosenberg and Dr. Laurence White

Rosenberg is the author of nine New York Times best-selling novels and non-fiction books, with more than 2.5 million copies sold.  His latest non-fiction work, “Implosion: Can America Recover From Her Economic and Spiritual Challenges In Time,” will be the focus of his remarks at the conference according to Vander Plaats.

Rosenberg is no stranger to Iowa as he worked on the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes in 1996 and 2000.  He has also spoken at a number of Iowa Christian Alliance events following the release of his 2002 novel, The Last Jihad.

Vander Plaats is as excited about Rosenberg’s participation at the event as he is about Huckabee’s and Santorum’s.  “People who choose to show up for the summit on Saturday will be wowed by Rosenberg,” Vander Plaats told  I concur.  I’m a fan of both his fiction and non-fiction works.  I’m almost finished with his latest book, Implosion, which is very well done.

Dr. Laurence White is the senior pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas.  Vander Plaats told that White’s remarks will focus on the sanctity of life. Some may remember that White spoke at an Iowa Christian Alliance event a few years ago.  White is a powerful, no-holds-barred speaker that that will surly hold your attention.

4. Any Romney Love?

Vander Plaats told that the Romney campaign has promised to send a surrogate to speak at the event.  Vander Plaats hopes that Romney himself will attend.  Vander Plaats talked about the disconnect that exists between Romney as the base of the party.  Vander Plaats thinks that Romney could bridge that gap by attending the event and focusing on his own family.  Vander Plaats’ advice to Romney is, “Talk about your marriage to Ann.  Talk about her battle with multiple sclerosis. Talk about raising five kids.  Talk about your grandkids and about why you will be the chief champion for the family if elected.”

5. Judicial Retention

Vander Plaats didn’t have much to say about the judicial retention election this November when asked about it last week.  However, in an email Vander Plaats said, “All plans and strategies for the 2012 elections are presently under consideration, including the retention of Judge David Wiggins.  Actions and strategies for the November 2012 elections will be the subject of the announcement at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit.”

Saturday’s event may be the launch of the anti-retention campaign of Judge Wiggins.  If that’s the case, it’s going to be interesting.

Details about the FAMiLY Leadership Summit.

The FAMiLY LEADER, in conjunction with The National Organization for Marriage, ActRight, and Citizens United, will be hosting The FAMiLY LEADERSHP SUMMIT on Saturday, August 11th.  The purpose of The FAMiLY Leadership Summit is to educate and mobilize the conservative base regarding specific issues that impact the family.

The schedule for the Summit is as follows:

11:00 AM – Registration for Pre-Summit Sessions

11:30 AM-12:30 PM – Pre-Summit Session for Pastors

11:30 AM-12:30 PM – Pre-Summit Session for She Votes 2012

11:30 AM-12:40 PM – Citizens United screening of The Gift of Life Movie

Noon-1:00 PM – Registration for general session

1:00-2:45 PM – Session I:  Congressman King, Senator Grassley, Dr. Laurence White, Special FAMiLY LEADER announcement

2:45-3:15 PM – Break

3:15-4:30 PM – Session II:  Media panel (Sam Clovis, Steve Deace, and Jan Mickelson), Joel Rosenberg

4:30-5:00 PM – Break

5:00-7:00 PM – Session III: David Bossie from Citizens United, Senator Rick Santorum  Brian Brown from National Organization for Marriage, Governor Mike Huckabee, Bob Vander Plaats


Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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