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Conservative groups plan bus trip through Iowa before Ames Straw Poll

A coalition of three social conservative groups have set their sights on Iowa and are planning a “Values Voter Bus Tour” that visits 22 cities in four days in advance of the Iowa GOP’s Ames Straw Poll.

The Family Research Council Action’s Faith Family Freedom Fund, the National Organization for Marriage and the Susan B. Anthony List will be joined along the the tour route by 2012 candidates Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, and other candidates — Michele Bachmann was mentioned by name — are anticipated to join the coalition as well.

U.S. Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert will also take part in the tour along with “other state and national leaders.”

“Last November, the people of Iowa reclaimed their right to govern themselves by removing three activist judges from power,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council Action. “We were honored to play a part in that victory with our successful ‘Judge bus’ tour that traveled the state highlighting the issue.

“The ‘Values Bus’ tour will speak to the views held by millions of American voters who want to make sure that issues impacting the family and the broader culture are understood and addressed by each of the candidates. The race is clearly wide open Values voters will be closing watching next week’s events as they determine which of the candidates are willing to do what it takes once elected to restore fiscal sanity, protect marriage, safeguard religious liberty and protect the rights of the unborn.”

The tour is expected to kick off on Tuesday, Aug. 9, with an appearance on the WHO Radio conservative talk show hosted by Jan Mickelson, who recently told a group of conservatives that push back against Bob Vander Plaats and the Iowa-based social conservative organization The Family Leader is “the Gay Playbook 101.”

Following the radio appearance, the bus will travel to the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines. Other stops that first day include Oskaloosa, Washington, Muscatine, Davenport, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, where the group will spend the night and host a breakfast the following morning. The bus will continue to tour Iowa throughout the week, arriving at the Ames Straw Poll next Saturday. (Full tour details have not yet been finalized.)

Both Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, and Brian Brown, president of NOM, lashed out at President Barack Obama with their opening comments. Dannenfelser referred to him as “the most pro-abortion President in United States history,” and said the effort to remove him from office — and continue the work of defunding planning planning services offered by Planned Parenthood and other groups — begins in Iowa.

Despite Obama’s hesitation for marriage equality, Brown said, “President Obama has done virtually everything in his power to undermine the institution of marriage, including refusing to defend the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton. NOM is committed to ensuring that the next president is a strong and committed supporter of traditional marriage and will commit his or her administration to vigorously defending marriage in the courts, Congress and and in the court of public opinion.”

According to Brown, NOM was “the largest contributor to the effort to unseat the state judges who imposed same-sex marriage on Iowa by judicial fiat,” and the group plans to use its “tens of thousands of supporters” to make sure a “pro-marriage” candidate rises to the top of the pack in the Iowa caucuses.

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