How focused are national Republicans on keeping the economy the No. 1 issue in this year’s election?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (Brian Blanco/Associated Press)

“Yesterday, you may have heard that the president gave a speech,” Priebus told a crowd of about 200 social conservative activists in downtown Washington. “Someone who’s in love with the sound of his own voice but can’t follow through on a simple promise. And it’s no surprise giving speeches is his favorite pastime.”

He added: “His speech was 54 minutes long, had zero new ideas – more of the same, more taxes, more big government. I feel bad for anyone that actually had to endure it and listen to it. But his camp called it a major address. I think we can call it a major flop.”

In his brief address to the half-full ballroom, Priebus honed in on the economy and the national debt, arguing that “a country that’s controlled by China can’t compete with China.”

Obama, he contended, would “trade the American Dream for the European nightmare.”

And he took aim at Obama’s “private sector is doing fine” stumble, musing that the president must have “heard that at one of his Hollywood fundraisers, perhaps.”

“This president’s priorities are not America’s priorities,” Priebus said. “And Barack Obama is not your daddy’s Democrat. I mean, he’s not Kennedy. And God forbid, he’s not Bill Clinton, either. He is the first unabashed committed leftist to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because this president would rather bow to foreign leaders than stand up for America’s greatness.”

Priebus made a brief reference to religion, telling the crowd that “politics is not the answer to our problems. ... We know that God is the answer to our problems.”

“But we also know that God’s called us to live a mission,” he added. “God called us to be involved in our government and in the world around us, so we’re living the mission. And I happen to believe we’re in a battle for freedom in this country. ... We have to win this election or we’re going to lose this country.”

Priebus was among the afternoon speakers on the second day of the annual summit of social conservatives. Scheduled to speak later Friday were former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and businessman Herman Cain, among others.