(CNSNews.com) - Although aides to Sen. Jim DeMint have endorsed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the South Carolina Republican has not done so himself.
In an interview with Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, the conservative DeMint said he likes much of what he's hearing from Ron Paul: "If Republicans don't understand the important aspects of what Ron Paul is saying, then I don't think we'll continue to exist as a party -- certainly not as a majority party."
DeMint said he doesn't go along with some of Paul's foreign policy -- "but the fact is, if we don't listen to other aspects, like getting our budget under control, we're not going to have the money to be a foreign power.
"The debate in the Republican Party needs to be between libertarians and conservatives -- that's what our party needs to be about,” DeMint continued. “There's no longer room for moderates and liberals, because we don't have any money to spend." He said he doesn't want to be debating with someone who wants to grow government.
DeMint also praised Ron Paul's campaign issues: "The unaccountable and out of control Federal Reverse, individual liberty, constitutional limited government -- those are the concepts that Ron Paul is bringing forward, and all of our country needs to listen to that, because those are the things that made this country so great."
In an oblique compliment to Mitt Romney -- without mentioning him by name -- DeMint noted that successful businesses have leaders who are willing to make hard, painful and unpopular decisions for the good of the whole company.
Neither the current president nor Congress is willing to do that, he added. “If we don’t have a president who is willing to take the hits and make the hard decisions, and reorganize -- make some of the government workers unhappy -- we’re going to lose our whole country,” he warned.
Successful business leaders sometimes have to do difficult things. “We need that in a president,” he said.
As far as the 2012 election goes, DeMint said he's "tried not to weigh in" on the Republican hopefuls, but he added he'd feel "good" about the top three or four getting the nomination. He says it's just as important to install a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.
DeMint said the 2012 election is the "last chance to save our country."
He said President Obama simply doesn't understand the principles that made the U.S. exceptional. Obama is trying centralize power in Washington, "but everything that made America great was a bottom-up, decentralized, individual decision-making approach. That's what was so unique about America."
DeMint said the nation's problems can be fixed, but not if we wait until we're in a situation like that of Greece.