Unlike official GOP nominee Donald Trump, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had never boasted nationwide household name status until this month. After all, the national political stage isn't big enough for two celebrities. But, Pence doesn't have to be famous to have built a reputation. Among Midwestern politicians, he's considered one of the most socially conservative. The transcript of Pence's RNC speech suggests he'll bring that controversial social conservatism to the White House without hesitancy. On Wednesday evening, he stepped up to the RNC stage to formally introduce himself to America, taking advantage of the opportunity to not be overshadowed by Trump.
Though Pence's language is more refined than that of his running mate, his views on gay marriage, abortion, and LGBT rights are harsh, to say the least. Even so, he has challenged Trump's xenophobic rhetoric concerning American Muslims in the past and offers political experience the nominee doesn't wield. Though Pence will help to cool down some of Trump's polarizing extremes and bring them to a more reasonable middle ground, his ideology will add fuel to others, especially those that hurt women's and minorities' rights. Not surprisingly, he began his speech by invoking religion and traditional family values — Republican priorities that have taken center stage at the convention numerous times already. Read his address below:
Mr. Chairman, delegates, friends and my fellow Americans, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am deeply humbled by your confidence.
And on behalf of my family, here and gone, I accept your nomination to run and serve as vice president of the United States of America.
And let me thank Speaker Paul Ryan for that gracious welcome.
Paul, you're a true friend and a great American leader.
But Paul knows me well, and he knows the introduction I prefer is just a little bit shorter: I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.
You know, I'm new to this campaign and honestly I never thought I'd be standing here. I thought I'd be spending this evening with all my friends from the great state of Indiana.
Yet, there I was, a few days ago in New York City with the man who won 37 states, who faced 16 talented opponents and outlasted every one of them and along the way brought millions of new voters into the Republican Party.
You know, he's a man known for a larger personality, a colorful style and lots of charisma. And so, I guess he was just looking for some balance on the ticket.
Well, for those of you who don't know me, which is most of you...
...I grew up on the front row of the American dream. My grandfather immigrated to this country. I was raised in a small town in southern Indiana, in a big family with a cornfield in the backyard.
Although we weren't really a political family, the heroes of my youth were President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I was young, I watched my mom and dad build everything that matters: a family, a business and a good name. I was raised to believe in hard work, in faith and family. My dad, Ed Pence, was a combat veteran in Korea.
Dad ran gas stations in our small town and he was a great father. If Dad were with us today, I have a feeling he'd enjoy this moment and probably be pretty surprised.
But it's such a joy for me to tell you that my mother is here. Would you join me in welcoming the light of my life, my mom, Nancy.
You know, growing up I actually started in politics in the other party until I heard the voice and the ideals of the 40th president and I said on for the Reagan revolution.
But the best thing that ever happened to me, even counting tonight, was that 31 years ago I married the girl of my dreams, a school teacher and artist. She is everything to me. Would you welcome my wonderful wife, Karen Pence.
And regardless of any title I'll ever hold, the most important job I'll ever have is spelled D-A-D.
Karen and I are blessed. Karen and I are blessed to be the parents of the three greatest kids in the world: a writer named Charlotte, a college student named Audrey and a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps Michael J. Pence.
I'm so proud of you guys.
Now, if you know anything about Hoosiers, you know we love to suit up and compete. We play to win. That's why I joined this campaign in a heartbeat. You have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down, a fighter, a winner. Until now, he's had to do it all by himself against all odds, but this week, with this united party, he's got backup. And on November 8th, I know we will elect Donald Trump to be the 45th president of the United States of America!
Now, we'll win because we're running on the issues facing this country and because we're leveling with the American people about the stakes and the choice.
You know, the American people are tired of being told. They're tired of being told that this is as good as it gets. They're tired of hearing politicians in both parties tell us that we'll get to that tomorrow while we pile a mountain range of debt on our children and our grandchildren.
And as Ronald Reagan used to say, they're tired of being told that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives better for us than we can plan them for ourselves.
In the end, this election comes down to just two names on the ballot, so let's resolve here and now that Hillary Clinton will never become president of the United States of America.
Now, Hillary Clinton essentially offers a third Obama term. And the role is perfect for her. She championed "Obamacare" because years earlier she had all but invented it. The national debt has nearly doubled in these eight years and her only answer is to keep borrowing and spending. And like the president, she thinks the path to a growing economy is more taxes, more regulation and more government.
Now, they tell us this economy is the best that we can do. It's nowhere near the best that we could do, it's just the best that they can do.
Now, let me tell you, I know firsthand it doesn't have to be like this. In my home state of Indiana we prove every day that you can build a growing economy on balanced budgets, low taxes, even while making record investments in education and roads and health care.
You know, Indiana is a state that works because conservative principles work every time you put them into practice.
Now, today, while the nation suffers under the weight of $19 trillion in a national debt, we in Indiana have a $2 billion surplus, the highest credit rating in the nation, even though we've cut taxes every year since I became governor four years ago.
We have fewer state employees than when I took office, and businesses large and small have created nearly 150,000 new jobs, and there's more Hoosiers going to work than ever before. That's what you can do with common sense Republican leadership and that's exactly what the no-nonsense leadership of Donald Trump will bring to the White House.
You know, Donald Trump gets it, he's the genuine article. He's a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers. And when Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn't tiptoe around the thousand new rules of political correctness.
He's his own man, distinctly American. And where else would an independent spirit like his find a following than in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The funny thing is...
You know, the funny thing is the party in power seems helpless to figure out our nominee. The media has the same problem.
They all keep telling each other that the usual methods will work against him. They keep thinking they've done him in, only to wake up the next morning and find that Donald Trump is still standing and running stronger than ever before. The man just doesn't quit.
He's tough. He perseveres. He's gone about as far as you can go in business, but he's never turned his back on the working men and women who make this country grow.
And Donald Trump will never turn his back on those who serve and protect us at home and abroad.
You know, it's been a heartbreaking time for the women and men in our law enforcement community. And in this time of great testing for them, let's let them know here and now, all across this country, we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line of law enforcement in America.
Now, you know, while Donald Trump was taking my measure as a possible running mate, I did some observing myself. I've seen the way he deals with people who work for him at every level. And I've seen the way they feel about working for him.
Now, I'll grant you he can be a little rough with politicians on the stage, and I'll be we see that again.
But I've seen this good man up close, his utter lack of pretense, his respect for the people who work for him and his devotion to his family.
And if you still doubt what I'm saying, remember, as we say back home, you can't fake good kids. How about his amazing children, aren't they something?
These are the true measures of our nominee, chosen by the voters as the right man for these times. This is the outsider, my running mate, who turned a long-shot campaign into a movement.
Now, over in the other party, you know, if the idea was to present the exact opposite of a political outsider, the exact opposite of an uncalculating truth-teller, then on that score you've got to hand it to the Democratic establishment, they outdid themselves this time!
I mean, at the very moment when America is crying out for something new and different, the other party has answered with a stale agenda and the most predictable of names. People in both parties are restless for change, ready to break free of old patterns in Washington. And Democrats are about to anoint someone who represents everything this country is tired of.
You know, Hillary Clinton wants a better title and I would, too, if I was already America's secretary of the status quo.
You know, the choice couldn't be more clear. Americans can elect someone who literally personifies the failed establishment in Washington, D.C. or we can choose a leader who will fight every day to make America great again. It's change versus status quo. And my fellow Republicans, when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America, the change will be huge.
You know, for years we've had fundamental problems in America that get talked to death in Washington, D.C., but they never get solved and they even get worse. We've seen entire stretches of our country written off by bad economic policies in ways that are deeply unfair to American workers. We've seen relentless mandates from the executive branch. It seems like no aspect of our lives is too small for the present administration to supervise and no provision of the Constitution is too large for them to ignore.
Meanwhile, we've seen borders that go unrespected, a military that's been diminished, and promise after ringing promise to our veterans, promptly forgotten.
Then Donald Trump came along and started saying what practically everybody was thinking anyway, that our leaders need to be stronger. Under Donald Trump, our deals will be smarter, our soldiers will have what they need and our veterans will have what they earned. We will secure our borders, protect our nation. In all this, we will be more serious. And when we do, this nation will start winning again.
You know, that's the message that men and women in both parties have been longing to hear. But none of us should think for one second that this will be easy. The outcome of this election depends on us and how we contend with an incredible onslaught that's coming our way.
You know, this won't be America's first glimpse of the Clinton machine in action, as Bernie Sanders can tell you.
And this time around, she'll have the press doing half her work for her.
The good news is it won't be nearly enough, not against a candidate who's captured the attention of the country the way Donald Trump has.
On issue by issue, he and I will take our case to the voters, pointing out the failures of the Obama/Clinton agenda and showing a better way. We will win the hearts and minds of the American people with an agenda for a stronger and more prosperous America.
Now, the establishment in Washington, D.C. thinks it's only a narrow range of voters who are giving Donald Trump a serious look. But I can tell you firsthand there's a lot of Americans out there who feel like Democrat politicians have taken them for granted.
It's union members who don't want a president who promises to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.
Those miners want an American energy policy and they know that Donald Trump digs coal.
It's African Americans, who remember generations of hollow promises about safe streets and better schools, and they know Donald Trump will fight for equal opportunity. And he loves educational choice.
And it's Hispanic Americans, who respect the law, want jobs and opportunities for their families, who know that Donald Trump will uphold the law and get this economy moving for every American.
You know, the party of Lincoln was founded on equality of opportunity. And during these difficult days, it will be our party and our agenda that opens the doors for every American to succeed and prosper in this land.
You know, in so many ways the Democratic Party has abandoned those it used to protect. Maybe they've become too entrenched in power, so comfortable at times that they lose patience with the normal legislative process. It's so much simpler to impose their values by executive order or court action. And make no mistake about it, Hillary Clinton has some big ideas along those lines, too.
As this election approaches, every American should know that while we're filling the presidency for the next four years, this election will define the Supreme Court for the next 40.
We all better think very carefully — very carefully — about what this means for our Constitution and limited government. Elect Hillary Clinton and you better get used to being subject to unelected judges using unaccountable power to take unconstitutional actions.
So let me say, for the sake of the rule of law, for the sake of the sanctity of life, for the sake of our Second Amendment and for the sake of all our other God-given liberties, we must ensure that the next president appointing justices to the Supreme Court is Donald Trump.
And Hillary Clinton's record on foreign affairs gets even worse. You know, it was Hillary Clinton who helped undo all the gains of the troop surge, a staggering failure of judgment that set ISIS on the loose.
It was Hillary Clinton who instigated the president's disastrous agreement with the radical mullahs in Iran. And it was Hillary Clinton who left Americans in harm's way in Benghazi and after four Americans fell said, what difference at this point does it make?
As the proud father of a United States Marine, let me say from my heart, anyone who said that, anyone who did that should be disqualified from ever serving as commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States of America!
Seven-and-a-half years of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's policies have weakened America's place in the world. Terrorist attacks at home and abroad, grim and heartbreaking scenes from France just a few short days ago, and the attempted coup in Turkey all attest to a world spinning apart.
History teaches us that weakness arouses evil. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's foreign policy of leading from behind, moving red lines, feigning resets with Russia, and the rise, rule and reign of ISIS are a testament to this truth of history. We cannot have four more years apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends.
America needs to be strong for the world to be safe, and on the world stage Donald Trump will lead from strength.
Donald Trump will rebuild our military and stand with our allies. Donald Trump will confront radical Islamic terrorism at its source and destroy the enemies of our freedom.
And if the world knows nothing else, it will know this: America stands with Israel!
You know, if you looked at the calendar this morning you might have noticed the presidency of Barack Obama ends exactly six months from today.
And this much is certain, this much is certain of the Obama years. They're not ending well. There seems to be so many things that divide us and so few great purposes that unite us as they once did. And it's at moments like this, moments when politics fail, that I believe we'd do well to remember that what unites us far exceeds anything that sets us apart in America.
That we are, as we have always been, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Should I have the awesome privilege to serve as your vice president, I promise to keep faith with that conviction, to pray daily for a wise and discerning heart, for who is able to govern this great people of yours without it.
My fellow Americans, I believe we have come to another rendezvous with destiny. And I have faith, faith in the boundless capacity of the American people and faith that God can still heal our land.
But we have a choice to make. This is another time for choosing. If you want a president who will protect this nation, confront radical Islamic terrorism and rid the world of ISIS, if you want a president who will restore law and order to this country and give law enforcement the support and resources they deserve, if you want a president who will cut taxes, grow our economy and squeeze every nickel out of the federal bureaucracy...
...If you want a president who will build strong borders and enforce our laws, and if you want a president who will upend the status quo in Washington, D.C. and appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will uphold the Constitution...
...We have but one choice and that man is ready, this team is ready, our party is ready. And when we elect Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States, together we will make America great again!
Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless the United States of America!