Social conservatives launch Iowa series, without Romney for now

by
January 21, 2011

Ben Smith, Politico

The Family Leader, Bob Vander Plaats’ Iowa conservative group, announces a speaking series:

The series line-up begins with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on Monday, February 7. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and businessman and radio host Herman Cain have also made commitments to participate. Other invited speakers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, South Dakota Senator John Thune, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and Indiana Representative Mike Pence.

“Iowans play a vital role in hosting the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus, and it is our privilege to offer this Presidential Lecture Series in order to provide our very influential base an opportunity to gain insight into our political process,” said Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER. “Our base is serious about its role in the political process and the Presidential Lecture Series is a focused strategy to facilitate meaningful exposure to our constituents.”

Not on the list of scheduled or invited speakers: Mitt Romney.

UPDATE: Vander Plaats says the group sought to invite Romney, but has been “unable to communicate with his office or his staff.”

“Romney’s definitely invited,” he said. “We’ve left a lot of messages. We just haven’t heard back yet.”

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