County Fair

NOM’s Iowa Bus Tour Shaping Up To Be (Another) Major Flop

August 11, 2011 5:38 pm ET by Carlos Maza

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) should probably just stop launching bus tours.

On Tuesday, NOM -- along with the anti-gay Family Research Council and anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List -- began its 2011 “Values Bus Tour,” which plans to stop at 22 Iowa cities and energize ‘value voters’ to participate in the Ames Straw Poll on August 13 (the day the tour ends).

So far, tour stops have included appearances from GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty, with others expected to show up before the week ends.

Not making appearances so far? Actual voters.

Looking over the scant news coverage the tour has received, it appears that few of NOM loyal followers bothered coming out to show their support.

Day 1:

Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines Register:

In Des Moines, speakers addressed a crowd of a few dozen media and assorted campaign staff, but just a handful of actual voters showed up for the mid-morning event at the Iowa Capitol.

ABC News:

[T]he event ultimately attracted more staffers for Gov. Rick Perry's PAC than it did prospective voters.


Pawlenty, perhaps noticing the tiny crowd at this morning's event, kept his remarks brief before heading back onto his RV to travel to his next event in Boone.

KCCI caught a shot of the crowd at the tour's launch:

Muscatine, Iowa

Muscatine Journal:

Pro-life and pro-family activists brought their Values Voter Bus Tour to Muscatine’s riverfront Tuesday afternoon, telling a crowd of about 20 people they’ll work to ensure the eventual GOP’s presidential nominee is on board with their values.

Davenport, Iowa

Quad-City Times:

Connie Mackey, president of Family Research Council Action, which supports anti-abortion candidates and pro-family issues, told a small crowd at Lafayette Park that the purpose of the 1,305-mile tour through 22 Iowa cities is to support those presidential candidates who have taken the pledge to support life and marriage.

KWQC caught a shot of the crowd awaiting the tour's arrival at Lafayette Park:

Coralville, Iowa

Eastern Iowa Government:

Standing beside a blue charter bus painted with the words: “Votes Have Consequences,” leaders of several socially conservative organizations urged about 20 people in the parking lot of a Culver’s restaurant in Coralville to consider social issues this election and to vote for candidates who would work to repeal legislation that allows abortion.

Day 2:

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

CBS News:

Presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum was at the tour and he addressed a crowd comprised mostly of staffers and the media. Despite the fact he has refused to endorse an anti-same sex marriage pledge from another Iowa group, he did affirm his support for a pro-life pledge touted by the tour.

Mason City, Iowa

Globe Gazette:

“The culture has been damaged beyond words” in recent years, said Connie Mackey of the Family Research Council, one of those on the Values Voter Bus Tour who spoke to a handful of people in Central Park.

KIMT caught this truly priceless image of that handful of people:

Mind you, this is the same bus tour that NOM President Brian Brown asked his “tens of thousands of supporters” to show up for. This is the same bus tour that Chris Plante, NOM’s Rhode Island director, predicted would create the "critical mass" needed to replace President Obama in 2012. Even NOM, while promoting the tour on its website, couldn't find a picture that made the tour appear like a success.

The turnout for the “Values Bus Tour” appears to be even worse than NOM’s last public relations disaster, the sparsely attended 2010 Summer for Marriage bus tour.

That’s not too surprising, considering how quickly the American public is moving towards embracing full marriage equality. 

The only question now is how much more gas money anti-gay groups will waste before they decide to stay home.


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NOM’s Brian Brown Gets Slammed On MSNBC

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