Pence woos conservatives

by Jonathan Martin
October 3, 2009
Politico.com

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) exhorted Republicans Friday to rally against fiscal excess, promising a conservative crowd that the country is “on the verge of a great American awakening.”

Pence, the House GOP conference chairman, said the simmering unrest that led to tea parties since the spring and the march in Washington last month reflected a country angry about the expansion of government.

“It’s authentic and it’s real and it’s powerful and it’s American,” Pence told about 2,000 conservatives at the annual conference of Americans for Prosperity, a free-market group.

The five-term Hoosier said of the movement: “The politicians aren’t leading this. They shouldn’t be leading it. They’re the ones that created this mess.”

The dinner was filled with the sort of grassroots conservatives who are the foot soldiers in GOP campaigns – and are the same sort who Pence has been meeting with in travels around the country this year, including a stop in Iowa.

In an interview following his remarks, Pence didn’t exactly knock down interest in a presidential campaign.

“I have no plans to run for president,” Pence said with a chuckle. But then he repeated the same less-than-Shermanesque phrase precisely twice more.

Pence finished a surprise fourth in a recent straw poll at a national social conservative conference and has sought to take a higher profile advocating for his party. He handed a reporter a business card-sized handbill with his picture over his name and the slogan, “Standing Strong.” The back of the card touts his website, and sites on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Hailing from a rural Indiana congressional district and with little financial base to draw from, Pence would be the longest of presidential longshots.

Read more: Politico.com

[CAJ note: When the health care bills began to surface this year, Congressman Pence said on 14 June, “The government competes in the private sector the way an alligator competes with a duck.”]

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