Romney's Liberty University speech to woo GOP skeptics: ‘Social conservatives ask me all the time why he doesn't talk more about these issues'

But it's still unclear how far Romney will go in whipping up enthusiasm among Christian conservatives. During the primary, Romney tried to keep the focus solely on the economy. But as Santorum crept up in the polls, Romney briefly began to pack into his stump speech several lines emphasizing his pro-life credentials and his opposition to same sex marriage—only to abandon them.

This week, activists, including Ralph Reed, suggested Obama's decision to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, was a surprise "gift" to the Romney campaign. But Romney didn't mention gay marriage on the stump—and his advisers gave conflicting answers as to whether they would make it an issue in the fall campaign.

Speaking on MSNBC, former George W. Bush adviser Ed Gillespie, who joined the Romney campaign last month as a senior adviser, replied "sure" when asked if Romney would campaign on the issue. But Buchanan suggested gay marriage would "not be a dominant issue" in the campaign and suggested Romney would stick to talking about jobs and the economy.

"Social conservatives ask me all the time why he doesn't talk more about these issues," Buchanan told Yahoo News. "Because that isn't a smart campaign when most people want to know what you are going to do to turn this country around.. That doesn't mean you don't talk about other things, but this race is about the economy. That's where this president's record has failed miserably."

There are some hopeful signs for Romney among white evangelical voters, a crucial voting bloc for Republicans this fall. A Public Religion Research Institute poll released Thursday found Romney with a nearly 50-point lead over Obama among evangelicals—68 percent to Obama's 19 percent.

But as the Los Angeles Times noted, Romney's support among evangelicals is less than what exit polls found for McCain in 2008 (73 percent) and George W. Bush in 2004 (79 percent).

"The vice presidential pick, the convention and the acceptance speech are going to be critical," Reed told Yahoo News. "If those go well, Romney will be fine."

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