DES MOINES -- A group of conservative Christians took to the road Tuesday to convince Republicans to caucus for Michele Bachmann on Jan. 3.
Calling Bachmann "biblically qualified" to be president at a Statehouse news conference Tuesday, former state Rep. Danny Carroll of Grinnell, Iowa, said the group is calling on Christians in Iowa to back Bachmann's candidacy.
"She is capable. She is trustworthy. She fears God, and she hates dishonest gain," said Carroll, who was surrounded by a dozen members of the endorsing group he described as "Iowa faith leaders and pastors."
The news conference kicked off a three-day road trip for the group, including stops in the Iowa cities of Oskaloosa, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Mason City, Council Bluffs and Sioux City.
"Frankly, we're looking to shake things up a little bit," Carroll said.
Bachmann, a Waterloo native and U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota, generated a lot of interest in the state leading up to her win at the Iowa Republican Party straw poll in Ames. But her numbers began to falter after Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race the same day.
Now, both Bachmann and Perry have fallen in the polls, the most recent of which put former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the top spot, followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The Rev. Bill Tvedt of Oskaloosa said the criteria for a biblically qualified leader can be found in the book of Exodus.
"The Bible says we are to choose those who are men of truth, who hate covetousness and fear God," he said. "I believe that (Bachmann) is guided by principles, not political calculations. I believe that the leader of our nation has to be a person who will always tell the truth and do the right thing."
Carroll said Bachmann isn't necessarily the only biblically qualified candidate in the field but she "best meets" the qualifications.
The thrice-married Gingrich has admitted to breaking his marriage vows in the past but has since asked for forgiveness. On Monday, the conservative Christian Iowa group The Family Leader released a letter from Gingrich in which the former House speaker vows fidelity to his wife, Callista.
The Rev. Brad Sherman of Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville, Iowa, said, "I think forgiveness and qualification are two clearly different issues. We are commanded by the Scriptures to forgive. We are also commanded by the Scriptures to choose leaders according to qualification."
Carroll said he hopes the trip helps still-undecided Iowans to make up their minds in favor of the Minnesotan.
"We're asking people to show up," Carroll said. "Unless you are supporting someone other than Michele Bachmann, and then you should take the night off."