(CNN) – A leading congressional conservative disagreed Sunday with a suggestion by his state's governor that social issues be put on the back burner in order to allow policymakers to focus on turning the economy around and bringing the federal government’s finances into balance.
Speaking to The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication, Indiana's Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, said the next president "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues" so he or she could focus on the fiscal problems facing the country.
Asked about the comments, GOP Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana praised Daniels but rejected his contention about social issues as the midterm elections approach and as both parties begin to turn their attention to the 2012 presidential race.
“I think Mitch Daniels is the best governor in the United States of America. He’s done a fantastic job for the people of Indiana,” Pence said on CNN’s State of the Union.
But, Pence quickly added that, in his view, “Barack Obama’s the most pro-abortion president in American history.”
“I believe with all my heart,” Pence told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, “that Republicans need to continue to fight for the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage with everything we’ve got in 2010 and in 2012.”
Pence, a popular conservative who is also chairman of the House Republican Conference, frequently champions the very same social issues which Daniels suggested policymakers downplay in coming years.
The Indiana congressman often describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order." And last month, before a largely conservative gathering of gun rights activists, Pence made a point of emphasizing the need to press for the primacy of social issues in the nation’s political and cultural fabric.
"We will not restore this nation with public policy alone,” Pence said last month at an annual gathering of the National Rifle Association. “It will require public virtue and that emanates from our most cherished institutions: family and religion.
"To renew this nation, we must renew the institutions that strengthen her character. We must stand for the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage and the vital importance of religion in our everyday lives."