Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says the Republican Party cannot back down on social issues.
His comments, made at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference, received a rousing reception by those in attendance.
The 50-year-old senator also said he's considering joining the 2012 presidential race. Thune is pro-life and supports a federal amendment protecting traditional marriage. He says his Christian faith influences his political positions.
CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody spoke more about his interview with Sen. Thune, on CBN Newswatch, Feb. 17. Click here to watch more.
Thune balks at the notion held by some fiscal conservatives that social issues should be put on the back burner.
"I think there are issues that people feel deeply about, and they're profound issues -- the issues of life, the issues of family. And I don't think we can minimize those in the debate," Thune told CBN News' David Brody.
"With regard to the economic issues, fiscal issues," he continued, "I think most social conservatives agree that we want a government that's smaller, a government that's responsive and accountable and all that."
"But, we also need to recognize that there are important issues that impact the basic glue, the foundation that holds our country together," he added. "And that comes down to the family unit. And we can't ignore those."