He has comforted a weeping boy, defended the Gold Star Khan family and praised New Mexico’s Hispanic-American governor who backs immigration reform.
The Hill Reported:
No, it’s not Ohio Gov. John Kasich. It’s Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.
The Indiana GOP governor and former congressman has been projecting a kinder, gentler Republican Party as he’s hopscotched across the country during his first month as the vice presidential nominee.
His brand of compassionate conservatism represents a stark contrast to Trump’s combative and often highly offensive style, helping to soften the image of the brash GOP nominee and appeal to the establishment wing of the party that’s been completely put off by Trump.
Even if the Trump/Pence ticket goes down in flames this fall, the governor’s allies say he’ll have no problem picking up the pieces and positioning himself for either a 2018 Senate race or 2020 White House bid of his own. He’ll have a newfound national profile, and Pence has essentially been running a positive campaign that looks and feels nothing like that of the beleaguered GOP standard bearer.
“I think there is another race in him. Obviously, he’s young and talented, and there’s the way he’s conducted himself on the trail,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a vocal Trump critic who’s also one of Pence’s closest friends, told The Hill in a phone interview Friday.
“He’s loyal to the ticket, but people have seen the kind of man he is. That will stick with him. That will stick with the voters too.”
Pence has, at times, found himself stamping out Trump’s fires, correcting or clarifying for the Manhattan billionaire controversies that have threatened to blow the campaign off course.
The Hoosier State governor argued that Trump’s “Second Amendment people” remarks were merely meant to call attention to Clinton’s desire to scale back gun rights, not a call to violence. And Pence endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in their primary races even as Trump waffled for days.
More recently, Pence sought to diffuse speculation, fanned by Trump, that the election would be illegally stolen from Republicans. When a New Hampshire woman asked this week about the prospect of a “rigged” election, Pence praised voter ID laws and encouraged voters to volunteer as poll watchers but didn’t utter the word “rigged.”
“The truth of the matter is, you are the greatest vanguard for integrity in voting in New Hampshire,” Pence told the woman at a rally in Manchester.
Republicans also have marveled over Pence’s political agility and instincts on the stump. He’s faced several high-stakes moments that could have ended badly but instead showcased his softer edge and human touch.
At a town hall in Lancaster, Pa., earlier this month, Pence stepped off the stage to comfort and embrace a boy whose father is terminally ill and had urged the candidate to help pass a bill to allow experimental drug treatment.
Read the full story here: The Hill