Is the GOP ready for its own gay candidate?

Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Spinners and Winners

Richard Tisei is running for Congress with an unusual resume. He's a Republican from Massachusetts who is pro-choice, openly gay, and in favor of gay marriage. And yet despite running diametrically opposed to  where most of the party is on social issues, Tisei is considered by top Republicans to be one of the top GOP candidates challenging incumbents this election

"I consider myself a live and let live Republican. I think the government should get off your back, out of your wallet and away from the bedroom," Tisei says. On social  issues he says the parties needs to "have advocates on both sides of the isle or you're never going to have true equality."

And Tisei is even willing to do something most Republican candidates for Congress never do - - same something positive about President Obama.  Tisei praised Obama for saying his position on gay marriage has evolved and he now favors it.

"I'm glad he has evolved to the point right now. He went through the same process I think most Americans are right now. They're interacting with a lot of gay people and they're recognizing, you know, that everybody should be treated fairly under the law…. I think it was an important step and I'm glad that he did it," he says.

Tisei even thinks his fellow Massachusetts resident, Mitt Romney, might evolve on the issue of gay marriage, too.

"I think the country as a whole is. I mean everybody knows gay people now… and it's really broken down barriers and given people the chance to interact. I think most Americans are fair, and they understand that everybody should be treated equally under the law, and we shouldn't discriminate against anyone, and I do think that as time goes on that will be the majority view in this country."

But on economic issues like health care, Tisei is lock step with most Republican candidates.

"Definitely repeal it, I think it's a job killer….it's going to bankrupt the country."  he said.

But he is in favor of the health care plan in Massachusetts that then-governmor Romney pushed through and that has many similarities to the Obama health care law passed by Congress.  "What we did in Massachusetts isn't necessarily going to work in other states. Every state's different and I think Governor Romney's right, every state should be able to come up with their own solutions and ultimately that's what we're going to need in the country to solve some of the healthcare problems."