At a public speech in Bucks County yesterday, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence led off with a list of the strengths of his running mate, Donald Trump.
“He’s a distinctly American leader. He speaks his mind. He speaks his heart. And he drives all those tea-sipping liberals from D.C. to Paris right up a tree,” he said, earning an approving roar from the crowd of 500 or so.
With time to the general election ticking down, White House hopefuls are making frequent stops to Pennsylvania, a sometime swing state. Virginia senator and Hilary Clinton running mate, Tim Kaine, was in Philadelphia on Monday.
Pence visited the commonwealth Tuesday, making stops in Bucks and Montgomery counties. The Indiana governor kept largely to national talking points during his 35-minute speech in a hangarlike facility for Worth & Co. He touched on potential vacancies on the Supreme Court and the need to negotiate more favorable international trade deals. In the only mention of a local race, he urged support for Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Time — or lack thereof — until Election Day was another theme. Reminding the audience that Tuesday was just 77 from Nov. 8, Pence asked the crowd more than once for help in getting out the vote.
“Go find a neighbor and a friend and talk to them about what this election is about,” he said. “Pennsylvania always looms large in the national destiny, always has, always will, but it’s especially true this year.”
Recent polls show the commonwealth leaning Democratic, after long polling as a toss-up in the general election.
After the rally, 20-year-old Will Krajicek said he liked the Indiana governor’s take on national issues, particularly security, but said he’s not convinced he could change others’ minds.
“A lot of my friends tend to lean left, so it’s kind of hard to have conversations … but I’m definitely going to try to be more diplomatic,” he said. “You can’t throw things in people’s faces.”
Carlo and Lucy Grilletto of Plumstead said they believed Pence would help draw in conservatives who are passionate about limiting abortion and the upholding gun ownership, as they are.
“He’s a conservative, and I don’t think I would have accepted this if he didn’t fully believe in Donald Trump and what he can do for America,” said Lucy Grilletto.
“He’s a sensible conservative,” chimed in her husband, who is is active in Pennsylvanians for Self Protection, a gun rights group.
Standing near a folding table laden with Trump T-shirts, Asmahan Malloy said she supports the Trump-Pence ticket because of their statements about fighting “radical Islam.”
“We need someone, yes, to secure this country,” said Malloy, a Christian immigrant from Syria.
Earlier Tuesday, Pence stopped to tour a medical tube manufacturing facility — and get a haircut at a barbershop — in Montgomery County.