Is focus on social issues a distraction, or the path to victory for Republicans in 2012?

On NBC's Meet The Press, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen were ostensibly invited to be on David Gregory's weekly program to discuss jobs and the economy.

Except Gregory spent the first eight minutes of the program discussing contraception and same-sex marriage, compelling Ryan to say, "Actually I came on to talk about the debt crisis that we have and the budget. I think that's really the driving issue of this election."

But after Ryan answered his question, the man George W. Bush nicknamed "Stretch" defended himself, saying, "There's a presidential campaign and you're a Republican leader in the Congress and the reality is that these social issues are occupying a lot of bandwidth with the Republican primary voters. So you may want to talk about other issues, the truth is some of the standard-bearers of your party are also talking about these issues and that's why I wanted to get your views on them."

Later on CNN's State of the Union, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels called the escalating debt "the largest non-military danger we've ever faced," and said that he believed the economy and the debt should have priority.