Thune beats back on Daniels' call for 'truce'
February 17th, 2011
09:12 AM ET
11 years ago

Thune beats back on Daniels' call for 'truce'

Washington (CNN) - South Dakota Sen. John Thune is mixing it up with fellow potential presidential candidate Mitch Daniels, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network Wednesday that social issues should not be minimized over the course of the Republican presidential primary process.

The comments come in response to Daniels, the Indiana governor and possible White House candidate, who has controversially called for a temporary "truce" on social issues while America deals with its pressing economic problems. Daniels, the former budget director under President Bush, is known for his fiscal conservatism and economic credentials but has spoken little on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

"I don't think we can minimize those in the debate," Thune said. "For any conservative or any Republican to get elected to office, you have to have the support and hopefully the energetic support of people who care passionately about the social issues."

Thune's comments are part of what appears to be a media blitz by the South Dakota senator as he still deliberates over whether or not to mount a presidential bid. In an interview with the National Review published Tuesday, Thune said he thinks he would match up best against President Obama and said he is still considering a run, despite speculation he is more likely to instead set his sights on increasing his rank among the Senate Republican leadership. The South Dakota Republican has said he will make a final presidential decision by the end of this month.

"With regard to the economic issues, fiscal issues, I think most social conservatives agree that we want a government that's smaller, a government that's responsive and accountable and all that," Thune also said in the CBN interview. "But, we also need to recognize that there are important issues that impact the basic glue, the foundation that holds our country together, and that comes down to the family unit. And we can't ignore those."

Meanwhile, in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, a politely-received Daniels repeated his mantra that the next president must focus in on economic concerns above all else:

"In our nation, in our time, the friends of freedom have an assignment, as great as those of the 1860s, or the 1940s, or the long twilight of the Cold War," he said at the annual gathering of conservatives that featured a slew of likely presidential candidates. "I refer, of course, to the debts our nation has amassed for itself over decades of indulgence. It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink."

Daniels has said he will decide on a presidential run later this spring.

Filed under: 2012 • John Thune
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Failing to the divisive minimise "social issues" will simply hand the House back to the Dems and keep Obama in office.

    The Republican approach to "social issues"–authoritarian and dictatorial–is incompatible with individual liberty. If some are opposed, for example, to abortion, for whatever reason, fine–don't have one. But it's not the prerogative of such people to impose that view on others.

    February 17, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    What's happening here is what always happens after a party suffers a major setback. Coming off of 2008, the GOP is reorganizing it's coalition. The social conservatives, who were once a top-tier player, have been moved down to second- or even third-tier status. They're expected to help, but shouldn't expect more than minor lip service from the party.

    Right now the republican coalition is Rich People, Corporations, People-who-don't-want-to-pay-taxes, and the Tea Partiers. This configuration did well in '10, but that was a mid-term election. The real test will be in '12, and I think the TP's will doom the GOP. They will either drag the party too far to the right for the independents, or they will break off to form a third party running a pair like Palin/Pence or Bachman/Daniels.

    February 17, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Such a vicious, little man! Just pathetic!

    February 17, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. ConservaFascists

    You ConservaFascists should leave social issues alone. You prove time over time that you're just a bunch of hypocrites. You guys claim to be the "Family Values" party. You're actions prove otherwise.

    February 17, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. AEK

    Just wondering where the jobs are. You and your "people" criticized President Obama constantly during the first two years of his term and then YOU promised to provide them if the Republicans got elected. So how's that actually having to govern working out for ya? You know the old saying..."put up or shut up!"

    February 17, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. Dave

    News flash, Thune. If people have jobs and the economy is good, social issues have a habit of taking care of themselves. It has been proven time and time again. Keep government out of our lives. Your job is to make our country successful. Not legislate our social life.

    February 17, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The religious maniacs refuse to listen to reason.

    Thune shows why he should NOT be elected, in his response.

    February 17, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Rosslaw

    Yeah, let's distract with those important "social" issues like a mosque in NYC, getting government into your bedroom through the abortion nonargument on federal funding and hey, that old time favorite number one threat to national security, flag burning. Emotional, divisive and best of all they accomplish nothing real. Daniels, I will start to take a good look at your candidacy now since you seem to have some connection with what actually is important, at least on this planet.

    February 17, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. indyreader

    I'm no fan of Daniels, but as an Indiana resident, I know a bit about him, and at least on this "truce" call idea, I agree with him. (I can do that, because I'm not a reactionary, hard-line partisan – you should try it sometime). That said, neither Daniels nor especially any of the farther-right, harder-line ideologues and Dominionists stand much of a chance of getting any of my votes – none of them can bring themselves to focus on jobs, the economy and getting stuff done that's POSITIVE and GOOD for everyone equally. They just keep reverting back to shoving religion down the throats of the general populace on regressive social-issue positions. This will eventually be the reason the Tea Party becomes totally ineffectual.

    February 17, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  10. Bill NY

    I find it interesting that the republicans disguise the the effort to pick and choose which freedoms we should have as a discussion of "social issues". The largest social issue we have is the republican party. Hey Republicans, WHERE ARE THE JOBS?!?!?!?!

    February 17, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "For any conservative or any Republican to get elected to office, you have to have the support and hopefully the energetic support of people who care passionately about the social issues."

    Because supporting those who are now unemployed seems to be taking a back seat to abortion, civil marriage, contraceptives, and breast feeding, yes Thune? I wonder when GOPers are going to begin explaining why they have all now decided to go after those WHO STILL HAVE THEIR JOBS? Or, better yet, why GOPers have decided that we Americans who are still employed should be agreeable to the GOPers most recent philosophy of stripping other Americans of their current jobs? Apparently the new GOPer mantra is to divide Americans into those who have a job (non-union) against those you all seem to think shouldn't have a job (union) while faulting the entire economic collapse of 2007 on the backs of those who have already lost their jobs. To quote Boehner: "So be it if others lose their jobs as well." Sorry GOPers, but I am not one who revels in the misery of others. Nor am I in the mindset of stripping pensions from those who have earned their pensions - even if allowing them to keep what they have will hinder balancing State or Federal budgets. Try scapegoating your own jobs, careers, and pensions for once GOPers and stop faulting others for your own devisive nonsense in blaming certain Americans as being too greedy while covering your own miserable economic mistakes.

    February 17, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Dave

    Sounds about right. Most Republicans will never miss a chance to tell someone how to live their personal ives.

    February 17, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    While republicans continue to address their number one priority, repealing women's rights, job creation remains at the bottom of the list.

    February 17, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Jean

    Thune is in my 'Top 5' of politicians for whom I can't wait for the 'dirt' to be uncovered.

    There's a juicy skeleton in his closet somewhere, as is the usual case with these self-aggrandizing & self-advertising pols. Sooner or later some reporter will uncover the John Ensign or Christopher Lee side of Mister Thune.

    I'll be here, waiting.

    February 17, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |