Ted Cruz Clouds Trump VP Mike Pence's Big Convention Speech
Mike Pence doesn't quite get his moment in the sun.
CLEVELAND — After a rocky rollout announcement, Mike Pence didn't quite get his moment in the spotlight as the Republican's vice presidential nominee during his convention speech.
Although Pence received loud applause throughout his speech, the narrative coming out of the third evening of the convention will focus on someone else. The Indiana governor was largely overshadowed by an uproar on the convention floor at the end of a speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, who declined to endorse Donald Trump, and instead said "to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution."
Cruz was loudly booed off the stage, as Trump walked into the arena. The presidential nominee walked out a few minutes later — immediately after his son Eric Trump's speech, and didn't return to his seat in the Trump family box to watch his running mate take the stage.
Pence received loud cheers as he accepted the nomination for vice president. He spoke about his childhood in Indiana, introduced the country to members of his family and called Trump "a fighter, and a winner" with a colorful personality.
"I guess he was just looking for some balance on the ticket," he joked.
Pence repeatedly praised Trump, stressing how he had turned his "long-shot campaign into a movement."
"When Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn't tiptoe around the thousand new rules of political correctness. He's his own man."
Pence repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton and went through the Republican Party's policy agenda, listing the economy, school choice, rebuilding the military, supporting Israel, reducing regulations on coal miners and vacancies on the Supreme Court.
"The presidency of Barack Obama ends exactly six-months from today," he said.
Pence's position as Trump's running mate seems intended to unify conservatives in the party behind its nominee. Having previously served in the House, he is well-respected in Washington, D.C. and is popular among social conservatives as well as major donors.
"This team is ready," he said. "This party is ready, and when we elect Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States, together we will make america great again."
Pence dropped out of a tough re-election race to join the GOP ticket. His first official joint appearance with Trump was something of a disaster: The governor did not appear onstage well into a long speech from Trump about various topics.
He is known for his conservative views — and the kind of Republican orthodoxy that Trump has flouted during his campaign. Pence supported the Iraq War, agreed with Hillary Clinton about the need to invade Libya, and has long been an ardent defender and promoter of free trade.
Pence is perhaps best known as a social conservative; Pence strongly opposes abortion, and signed into law a bill than some argued would authorize discrimination against gays and lesbians by private businesses (Pence later backtracked on the law).
The vice presidential nominee was introduced by Speaker Paul Ryan, who worked with him in the House, as "man of solid character" who comes "from the heart of the conservative movement and from the heart of America."
"This is a man who sees public service as a calling and not a career," Ryan said.