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Opening Arguments

The coalition builder

George Will on why conservatives like Mike Pence:

To those who say conservatives should set aside social issues and stress only economic ones, Pence replies: Economic problems are urgent, but social problems remain important in a way that blurs the distinction between social and economic issues. With the fluency of a former talk radio host, he says: "You would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family continues to collapse." This is, he says, "Moynihan writ large," referring to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's preoccupation with out-of-wedlock births, which now are 41 percent of all American births.

Economic conservatives have gotten all the attention lately as Tea Party membes focused on government cost and overreach. But the GOP needs the social conservatives, too, if it's going to mount a serious challenge to the president in 2012. Pence is one of the candidates who can probably convince those two groups they need to get along.