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Mr. Perkins, when asked to explain the poor performance of Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney - who earned 8 percent and 4 percent of the vote, respectively - replied that “the field is still somewhat fluid.”

“This is really a testing ground for what it’s going to take for someone to capture the Republican nomination” for president, he said.

But he added “they’ve got work to do” in order to woo the conservative vote.

“There is still the hearts and the minds and the passions of the values voter that still need to be won,” he said.

To further complicate Mr. Perkins‘ weekend, he had to deal with comments regarding Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith.

On Friday, Robert Jeffress, a Baptist pastor and Perry supporter who introduced the Texas governor before his address at the summit, told a reporter the Mormon faith was a “cult.”

Mr. Romney didn’t raise the issue during his speech the following morning.

He did, however, knock the speaker after him, Bryan Fischer of the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, who has questioned whether Mormonism is a Christian faith.

“We should remember that decency and civility are values, too. One of the speakers who will follow me today has crossed that line,” said Mr. Romney without directly naming Mr. Fischer. “Poisonous language does not advance our cause.”

Mr. Perkins said he was disappointed over the “distraction” of Mr. Jeffress’ comments, but added that “I think every year we’ve had some form of controversy.”

“You can’t have this many people together, this many different speakers, this many different organizations, and not have something happen,” he said. “But we’re not going to get distracted by that. Again, our focus is building a coalition based on shared values.”