Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence visited Columbus on Monday, speaking calmly and cooly on improving security abroad and at home, along with the economy.
The Indiana governor stuck to his script at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, even when those in attendance interrupted him with cheers. Pence also spoke positively of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, and urged the several hundred audience members to vote for a Republican majority in Congress.
This was in contrast to his running mate, Donald Trump, known for his off-the-cuff remarks and self-written tweets railing against Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House. Portman told The Columbus Dispatch after Trump’s comments on groping women surfaced in a 2005 hot-mic recording, he “can no longer support (Trump).”
Pence still hit common areas on the GOP presidential platform — trade, foreign policy, and lowering regulations — and criticized what he called a biased national media, though not quite as aggressively as Trump, who has asked audience members to boo journalists present at his rally.
“It’s not exactly a fair fight out there,” Pence said of the media.
Pence went after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on leaked emails from her campaign staff obtained by WikiLeaks, foreign policy decisions in the Middle East made by Clinton as secretary of state. He also criticized President Barack Obama, who has endorsed Clinton, on tax, health care, and economic policies.
“Hillary Clinton is going to bring more of the same,” Pence said. “Not the same, more of the same.”
Pence gave Clinton’s health care plans as an example, which would expand on the Affordable Care Act, in contrast to Trump and Pence’s plan to repeal the health care law.
Pence also touched on his economic platform, which he said would be include less taxes and regulations, attacking what he called “the war on energy.”
“Any progress you’ve made in Ohio has been made in spite of what’s coming out of Washington, D.C.,” Pence said. “Day One of the Trump and Pence administration, the war on coal comes to an end.”
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was campaigning in Westerville, Ohio, on Monday morning for Clinton, used that opportunity to speak out against Pence and Trump.
“I think that Trump says whatever occurs to him, and it causes huge problems,” Albright said. “He has basically said NATO isn’t going to work. I have gotten so many calls from my friends in the Baltic countries saying, ‘What’s going to happen?’”
Albright also defended Clinton’s foreign policy record, bringing up her experience and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Pence criticized during his speech.
“She worked very hard in terms of dealing with Russia,” Albright said. “She also set the real background on talks with Iran … (making) what is the most dangerous place in the world — the Middle East — safer.”
Carson Evans, a second-year in finance at Ohio State who attended Pence’s rally, said that although Pence didn’t say anything he wasn’t expecting to hear, he enjoyed the rally.
“I was very impressed, I didn’t know a lot about him before this,” Evans said, saying he hadn’t seen much of Pence besides the vice-presidential debate. “And I thought it was good that he supported Portman.”
The rally was the latest in a slew of high-profile political visits to Columbus: President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Trump have all visited Columbus since Oct. 10. Republican Sen. Rob Portman is slated to debate Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, a former Ohio governor, in Columbus, Monday night at 7 p.m., and Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is set to campaign in Upper Arlington on Wednesday.
Additionally, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is set to visit OSU on Tuesday for a nonpartisan event hosted by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and the Moritz College of Law.