This transcript is automatically generated
While congress battles that out on the hill the Republican presidential candidates are continuing -- battles to become the party's nominee.
My next guest says evangelical Christians may forgive the personal indiscretions of Republican presidential candidates.
But that doesn't mean they'll vote for -- voters want to know there -- electing a politician with character.
Not a character as a politician joining me now Tony Perkins president of the family research council and one of the country's leading.
Conservative evangelicals great to have you with -- Tony.
Let's start with what is the if you will.
Reaction to what now appears to be a two person contest.
Between governor Mitt Romney in second place and -- a distant.
Front runner position now Newt Gingrich.
-- according at least to the latest assessment by Rasmussen Reports.
Yeah this is really pretty fascinating when you look at -- because in May when Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy within hours -- yeah.
Literally was left for political dead when he shot himself in the foot by calling.
The Ryan plan now right wing social engineering and -- day his campaign staff left feeling -- and his campaign were few buzzards.
But he has revived and that now is actually as of today leading the pack of Republican candidates.
And as a big -- from 2007.
When his negatives were double his positive ratings among voters.
I think what we're seeing here -- to messages that voters are sending at least conservative voters.
That is the current occupant of 16100 Pennsylvania Avenue -- -- -- enough hope and change.
And secondly Mitt Romney is not the preferred candidate to do it.
Not the preferred -- I want our -- of quinnipiac poll.
And the importance and placement of strong Oracle a moral character in their view.
In this field of candidates in first place in the quinnipiac poll is none other than governor Romney with 32%.
Followed by Michelle Bachmann 11% Gingrich at 9%.
Paul at 9%.
And and the list goes on.
-- seems to be eaten the logical.
If you will default candidate at least.
-- very evangelical Christians.
The conservative Catholic vote in this country your thoughts.
Well it's interesting elude because -- shows that evangelical or social conservative voters are more complex than people -- -- give him credit for.
That they'll simply vote for a candidate because they use religious rhetoric.
They look at their personal life their character as you point out is important but also their qualifications to lead -- important.
And that's where I think this toss -- is you really have yet Mitt Romney on one side who.
His personal life -- -- from everything that's been said and is seen is in order that he's a perfect candidate from that standpoint.
-- look at that they did Newt Gingrich and it's the opposite.
But then you Begin to look at there.
They're professional performance and there's a big guys distinction between what men Mitt Romney embraces today and what he did as governor of Massachusetts.
I think over the next two weeks as -- -- this intense scrutiny that comes to the front runner.
People be reminded of his record and we'll see if he can withstand that type of scrutiny.
Mitt Romney with these social conservatives the religious right.
Every wondered constructive.
Why can't they seem to embrace.
A governor Romney he cannot breaker right now.
Newt Gingrich a new fresh front runner.
As off much higher number than ever achieved nationally a -- among likely voters.
By governor Romney who's been the front runner for a bit off on for an extended period of time.
Well it's been this it's been a consistent glass political political glass ceiling for a four governor Romney.
-- it was Romney Pawlenty and it was Romney and Bachmann it was Romney and Perry and Romney and -- now it's a government running Gingrich Gingrich actually jumped out ahead of him.
I think the problem is it's it's now his personal life -- -- right thinks he's actually a picture perfect candidate.
The problem is with his record -- you know when he was governor he had a pro abortion position.
He's been very -- motive of special rights for people based upon their sexual behavior.
If he's if he's articulated.
Different positions today.
But the rhetoric doesn't match the record any is not made people comfortable in believing that this is the new improved Mitt Romney.
Social conservatives offering if you will redemption.
Offer candidates who have been less than perfect in the practice of -- private lives we'll put it that way.
-- social conservatives offer a political.
Redemption for those who have and their previous political lives been less than perfect.
I think that that's a possibility of people believe it's genuine.
And and that no one knows the story of redemption better then -- Christians evangelicals.
And so they're they're -- they're they're willing to forgive and they -- -- they want people to do well.
But political you've got to convince just forgiving people though is not.
Paramount are not the same as -- endorsing -- and supporting them for the highest office in the land so.
There's a process so personal redemption is not necessarily the same as political redemption.
-- just followed taken tried that.
Thanks so much good -- -- shouldn't target Perkins.
-- research council.