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Pence humbled by VP talk on McCain ticket
COLUMBUS, Ind. — U.S. Rep. Mike Pence says he’s humbled that his name has been mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Pence, R-Ind., was one of five conservatives that Pat Toomey, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, named in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal as good fits to share a ticket with McCain, the likely GOP nominee.
“Over seven years in Congress, the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee has established himself as a principled, determined conservative,” Toomey wrote of Pence in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.
He also said the Arizona senator would be wise to name a fiscal conservative as his running mate to unite Republicans. Toomey is president of Club for Growth, a political action committee that raises money for Republicans who support a lower-tax, limited-government agenda.
The other possible McCain running mates Toomey named were: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Phil Gramm, former Texas senator; and Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes Inc.
Pence said Friday that he’s honored by the mention but added that he would be “stunned” if McCain asked him to be his vice presidential running mate.
“It’s nice to be noticed for the reasons you want to be noticed,” he said.
Pence said he would counsel McCain, a moderate Republican, to pick a conservative as his running mate to gain the support of conservatives.
“McCain knows the base is divided, and it’s imperative to bring the Republican Party together, including the majority who are conservative,” Pence said.
In a speech Pence delivered Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., he challenged McCain to stick to promises he’s made that are in line with conservative views.
Those include making tax cuts permanent, fighting big government spending, securing America’s borders and appointing conservative judges.
“Senator McCain, if you continue to embrace the right, the right will embrace you,” Pence said to CPAC.
Pence said during the speech that he did not endorse McCain or any other candidate. He also noted that he had clashed with McCain on many issues.
Despite political differences, Pence and McCain have spent time together, including a trip to Iraq, and Pence believes he could support McCain for president.
“I’ve gotten to know him and found him to be a good man, a patriot and someone I admire,” he said.
Ted Ogle, Bartholomew County Republican Party chairman, said Pence, a 48-year-old from Columbus, would be McCain’s best choice.
If McCain doesn’t pick a fiscal and social conservative as his running mate, Ogle believes many conservatives will choose not to vote, which could hurt the Republican candidate.
“I think (McCain) needs to firm up the Republican base if he wants Florida, Texas and Ohio,” Ogle said. “He needs a likable and well-spoken conservative, and I think Mike Pence fits that bill.”
Indiana Republican Party Chairman Murray Clark said Pence is a proven conservative who has “steadfastly adhered to Republican principles his entire career.”
Labels: Indianapolis Star, Mike Pence, Pat Toomey, Senator John McCain, Vice President, Wall Street Journal