News Center

August 12th, 2013

Family Leadership Summit Fires Up Iowa Conservatives

An all-star line-up of speakers, spanning the conservative spectrum, along with strong production values boosted the second annual Family Leadership Summit to another successful event. From Iowa’s top Republican officials to potential 2016 presidential candidates to real estate mogul Donald Trump, the lineup provided plenty of red meat to get the more than 1,000 conservatives in attendance fired-up during an “off year” for elections.

Below are videos of many of the speeches, as well as analysis and crowd reaction to each speaker. In separate articles here on TIR, we analyze the appearances by Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. You can also view videos of their speeches inside the articles or by visiting’s YouTube page here:

Senator Chuck Grassley

Many believe Grassley delivered one of the best speeches of his political career at last year’s Family Leadership Summit. This year’s was more low key and not as strongly delivered, but Grassley still delivered a strong message, focusing heavily on Christian values:

Stephen Baldwin

Most known for his performance in the excellent film “The Usual Suspects” and appearance’s on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice”, Stephen Baldwin’s political views are the polar opposite of his liberal brother Alec. Stephen Baldwin became a Christian after 9/11. He discussed the difficulties of being a Christian, and conservative, in Hollywood. The message was well-received:

Congressman Steve King

Iowa’s conservative firebrand received one of the biggest ovations of the day when he took the stage. Congressman King was fired up and really got the crowd energized with an enthusiastic speech. It was one of the better speeches I’ve heard King give, and that covers a lot of ground. King noted that America’s Founding Fathers were moved by “divine guidance.” He also encouraged attendees to stand up to the IRS.

“If you’re a 501c3 and you’re afraid of the IRS, just go ahead and defy the IRS on that. I’ll stand there with you,” King said. “If we can’t preach the word in America, where can we preach it?”:

Rick Santorum

The 2012 Iowa Caucus winner delivered a good speech, but it was far from one of his best. Santorum’s unexpected rise from the bottom of the polls began with a powerful, but low key speech at a Family Leader event in ….(November). Saturday’s speech was more middle of the road. It was largely a condensed version of the speech he gave in Lyon County on Thursday, however that speech seemed stronger.

Between the two likely 2016 presidential contenders who spoke on Saturday, there is no question Ted Cruz overshadowed Santorum.

Governor Terry Branstad

I was curious to see how the governor’s speech would be received, and how he would interact with former gubernatorial campaign rival Bob Vander Plaats. BVP served as emcee for the entire event. However, he deferred to The Family Leader board member Robert Kramer to handle the introduction of Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, who then introduced Branstad.

As for his speech, it was extremely well-received by the audience. Branstad delivered an emphatic speech that was interrupted by applause at least 10 times. Branstad did shake hands with Vander Plaats as the governor exited the stage. I am told the two spent around 10 minutes backstage having a friendly discussion regarding Branstad’s education reforms.

This was the first time Branstad has spoken at an event put on by Vander Plaats organization. It appears the bad blood has somewhat dissipated. That is a good thing for Iowa Republicans.

Pastor Rafael Cruz

The father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz is a fantastic speaker. His life story, as a Cuban refugee, is fascinating. Cruz drew a comparison between Fidel Castro and Barack Obama. The elder Cruz noted that Castro promised “hope and change” in the lead-up to his overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba. Pastor Cruz warned the crowd that America is headed down the socialist path that Cuba took. It was a fantastic speech:

Another highlight of the day was the 51-minute speech by Del Tackett. Video of that speech will be made available later. Overall, The Family Leader deserves kudos for delivered a strong Leadership Summit for the second straight year. It was a great event.

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

blog comments powered by Disqus