WASHINGTON - Family Research Council president Tony Perkins is attuned to what millions of social conservatives want in a presidential candidate.
Speaking at the National Press Club Tuesday, Perkins said one thing's for sure -- they don't want to compromise on a moderate who doesn't forcefully stand for their conservative values.
That's how Perkins saw Sen. John McCain in 2008.
"He did not have the enthusiastic support of social conservatives and as a result, the Republicans lost the general election," he said.
But this election season, Perkins said all the major GOP candidates are backing what social conservatives stand for.
"All of them have staked out policy positions that are pro-life. How many of them support traditional marriage? All of them," he explained.
A number of Republicans wanted staunch conservative Mitch Daniels to run, but the Indiana governor has declined.
From the sidelines, Daniels has said that the American economy is in so much trouble, Americans need to pick a candidate who realizes the country's condition.
The U.S. will sink, "if we don't have a much faster growing private economy and if we don't begin to discipline the government spending that we just cannot afford," he said.
"Whoever succeeds in getting the Republican nomination will replace this president, and that is the prayer of a lot of people," Perkins added. "That this president is a one-term president lest we lose this country forever."
Gov. Daniels said the U.S. will go the way of Greece if America doesn't elect politicians dedicated to slashing government and spending.
"This is not a philosophical or ideological matter at this stage. It's arithmetic," Daniels said.
Perkins doesn't believe Obama can win again.
"I'm not concerned about (the GOP) nominating someone who is unelectable," he said.
Perkins added that so-called "second tier" candidates like Rep. Michelle Bachmann or businessman Herman Cain shouldn't be counted out.
"There's something common between him and Michelle and others who attract a lot of support and that is they tell it like it is. They don't talk in 'political-ese,'" Perkins explained.
As for the field being settled, Daniels said he doesn't think so.
"Is it too late for somebody? No it isn't. Not in this wired, 24-7, Twitter world we live in," he said.