Washington (CNN) - A social conservative leader weighed in on the current crop of GOP presidential candidates Tuesday, saying Mitt Romney has lost momentum on issues that matter most to values voters.
"He is not speaking as strongly to the social issues as he did four years ago," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, at the National Press Club in Washington.
Romney, who's taken a noticeably different campaign approach compared to his 2008 bid for president, has not promoted the values of his Mormon faith as much as his last go-around, focusing instead on this election cycle's biggest issue: the economy.
Perkins questioned Romney's decision to dial back on his social message, asking if the former Massachusetts governor was "genuine and solid" with those values in the first place.
"I think that if he is to emerge as the front-runner and the standard bearer for conservatives, he's going to have to shore that up," Perkins said.
Perkins also wasn't so taken with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, saying the candidate's answer at last week's presidential debate on a Texas immigration law was "troubling."
Perry got harsh reviews for saying people lack hearts if they disagree with him on a law allowing certain undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition credits.
Perkins said that while many conservatives took offense to the comment, Perry may simply need more practice on the debate stage.
"I think he is still working on getting his responses to those issues down to a very concise message," Perkins said.
And while speculation still swirls over whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will jump into the race, Perkins said the current field needs no more candidates.
"I think Chris Christie has done some really good things, but that's relative when you consider where he's at: New Jersey," Perkins said. "It doesn't take a lot to do good things up there."
Perkins went out to say Christie would have trouble garnering support from social conservatives, questioning some of the governor's appointments and supporters who tend to lean to the left on social issues.
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Perry's been solidly against illegal immigration........but as in all other states, he has gotten zero support from the Federal Government.
Those who see allowing residents.....illegal not withstanding......who have been residents for 3 or more years, brought into TX as children, using in-state tuition as some sort of subsidy.........need to answer this question........why is allowing illegal immigrants to send their children to K through HIgh School, and not paying one cent towards the cost of that, not the TRUE subsidy? NO ONE is doing anything about that, and in fact, the Federal Government is stopping the states from doing anything about that, whatsoever!
It's time for the GOP to get real, in their views. At least, with in-state tuition, they are finally paying SOMETHING for their education, and not freeloading, entirely!
Good rule of thumb – If somebody talks like a bully, they're usually covering up for lack of substance. Yep, George Bush gave us a whole lot of that bravado, and look where it got us. War and more war..all unfunded of course. Not nearly good enough GOP – and that goes for all of your candidates. Weak, weak, weak, weak field of Republican candidates!
"Values voters"? What a joke!
Born again hypocrites who want to legislate everyone else's morals is more like it!
Romney is a Democrat, in a GOP T shirt. He is not a conservative, he does not have conviction in his views, and he is not genuine in what he says in attacking others.
Romney is an opportunist.
If you're Mormon, you know that Mitt Romney was what is called a Stake President, which means he was appointed by consensus among the Prophet and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to be the local leader of about 12-15 congregations. If you know anything about Mormons, you know that they are some of the most socially-conservative people in America. He is sound on social issues, he just doesn't want to bring to the debate the phobia that America has with electing a Mormon president. Besides, he is looking to the long run when he will be running against Mr. Obama and having to convince independents to vote for him. They are watching him now, and speaking about his economic prowess over pandering about petty social issues will win their vote. The only thing that can stop him is a group of conservatives who think anyone other than Obama can fix the economy, and social issues are the most important thing.
The Republicans need to concentrate on fiscal issues, their social issue stances are pretty disgusting.
Yep – tube steak mouth at it's best. Family values for the serfs, normal behavior away from wifey.
Isn't this the guy who paid money for a KKK mailing list to find others with "similar values"?
I hate to break it to this guy, but hate and bigotry are NOT VALUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! these CONservatives keep yelling about freedom, but that freedom doesn't extend to other people who are doing things they don't approve of, like having reproductive health care or marrying the person they love even if they're the same gender. how hypocritical can these people get? they claim to be Christians but they push their hate-filled agenda down everyone's throats and vote in people who have a track record of damaging this country to the point of collapse. it's time these 'values' voters got some real values, like the kind JESUS said we should have, you know, like love your neighbor and take care of each other.
Tony Perkins doesn't like Perry's stance on the Mexican education issue, and he thinks Romney isn't Jesusing it up enough. What the hell kind of a Christian wack-job is this DH?
Perkins what do you expect from Romney? Romney is a flip-flopping Mormon that does not advertise his belief on his own website. Ask, Romney who is "Joseph Smith" and watch this clown flip-flop.
Sad that ignorance can blind so many people. as a Mormon myself I can tell you that mormonism is a way of life, not something we do todayz but not tomorrow or in a year from now. our foundation is solid, but we are not required to promote or say it, our actions show it.
And like it or not, 'speaking strongly' to the 'values' issues is not a winning strategy. Even in a good economy, the number of voters who put that first and foremost is small but extremely loud minority. And in a year like this where the economy isn't good, their influence shrinks even more. Too bad it can't shrink to zero...
Besides been questionable on conservative issues I believe that America does not need a bully in the White House. Chris Christie is certainly that and more. Can you imagine this Guy on the world stage? We cannot afford another GB.
Right. Romney hasn't executed enough people yet.
This liar and the Apostolic Federation are working with the Koch Bros to elect a puppet. America is in grave danger.