Pence says GOP should seek limits on federal government

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday called on Republicans to dramatically limit the federal government's role in public education, welfare programs and transportation in a speech aimed at boosting his profile among New York's powerful political donors.

"I'm more convinced than I've ever been in my life that the cure for what ails this country will come more from our nation's state capitals than it ever will from our nation's capital," Pence, a former congressman, told a packed hotel ballroom shortly after donors paid $5,000 each for a picture with him.

The comments came at the New York GOP's annual dinner, a fundraising event set in Times Square that attracts ambitious Republicans each year eager to tap into the city's massive bank of campaign cash. Recent speakers include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — each of whom is weighing a presidential bid.

Pence declared that Washington Republicans must "permanently reduce the size and scope of the federal government by restoring to the states those resources and responsibilities that are rightfully theirs under the Constitution," specifically citing education, welfare and transportation.

He used humor to distance himself from an unpopular Congress, where he served for more than a decade. "If I only had 12 years to live I'd want to live it as a member of Congress," he said, "because that was the longest 12 years of my life."

Pence may be less known on the national stage, but Republican operatives suggest he could emerge as a major player in the 2016 contest should he run.

"He's got presidential qualities," New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said.

As he mulls a White House bid a year and a half into his first term as governor, Pence has been working to strengthen his national profile. Thursday's trip represented his second meeting with New York donors in as many months. He followed the first New York appearance by pitching a plan to expand health insurance coverage for low-income Indiana residents during a speech at a conservative think tank in Washington.

He has also been strengthening ties to Republicans in other states, headlining events for the Wisconsin and Alabama GOP in recent weeks.

At the same time, he's bolstering his foreign policy credentials. The Indiana governor is taking a group of business leaders on a jobs mission to the United Kingdom in July. During an economic trade mission to Germany last May, Pence took the unusual step of criticizing the president while abroad when he faulted President Barack Obama's handling of the situation in Ukraine.

Pence took repeated swipes at Obama's international leadership on Thursday. "The foreign policy of this administration has made the world less safe," he said, "and must be replaced with a policy of peace through strength."

Pence is popular with Indiana voters and has allies among national establishment Republicans and evangelical voters alike.

"Mike Pence is a successful governor and a full-spectrum conservative who could attract support from many different lanes in the Republican Party. He's also one of the best communicators we have," said GOP operative Phil Musser, a veteran of presidential politics.

Pence also has strong ties to billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch, whose political network pumped tens of millions of dollars into the last presidential race.

Elected to his first term as governor in 2012, Pence had weighed a challenge to Obama's re-election. He has been saying for months that he is "listening" to national conservatives interested in seeing him make a presidential bid.


  • Pence-can YOU take care of all of your own citizens without the feds?
    Perhaps Mr. Pence has forgotten what it was like when states had more control over education. I am old and remember the days when only rich schools received the best books, teachers, and equipment. If the federal government gets out of education, or some other entity, and leaves it to the states, than what happens to the schools that lie within greater poverty areas, and what happens during a recession when there is LESS money to go around in that state? Chicago is getting ready to lay off 1,500 teachers and more states are also dealing with less money and more layoffs. In theory it would be nice to have less government anywhere, but as long as we have so many people, and so many issues, having federal oversight is needed in schools, workplace, businesses, healthcare, and basic human rights that the states refuse to deal with, or cannot deal with. Interesting, the state of Oklahoma, who HATES the federal government telling THEM what to do, just enacted a law telling the cities in that state they cannot raise minimum wage. They acted like “big brother” and did the very same thing they have fought against. States, especially Republican run ones, want more control, yet they continue to have serious problems of budgeting within their borders. They constantly stick their hands out for big government, like FEMA, when they have issues and NOT take care of it themselves. So, if Pence and others want big government out of their states, they should come up with a plan to show THEY can take care of all the citizens, present and future, within their borders, without having to ask for help from the federal government or raising taxes on individuals.
  • limits
    I would like to see limits on Mike Pence.
  • More Shallow Thinking From Pence
    Pence likes to make comments that seem relevant but are usually shallow in their logic and reason. He is basically anti-federal government although he was a member of congress for years. Perhaps, he should have resigned earlier on principle rather than wait for the right political window to run for governor. Moreover, Pence needs a mathematician and tax expert on his staff that will explain how the state will pay for all the services/programs that the federal government now funds directly or subsidizes. I am hoping Indiana voters will wake up soon and vote this guy out of office. I think he has forgotten that he receive less than 50% of the votes during the last gubernatorial election.
  • Ah, We're Learning...
    Brett, I've got to hand it to you, you're starting to catch on. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or, as my parents always said, "Be kind to dumb animals..."
  • apology
    Ok my apologies....so we can't call someone stupid but we can call someone racist. got it
  • Comment Editing
    Ah, Brett, don't feel as if you're being singled out here and don't feel bad about having your comment(s) removed. I will admit that more than one of mine has been removed, and I do try so very hard to be civil. Apparently, there are times when our typing fingers get the best of us...
  • Comment policy
    Brett, IBJ's comment policy is posted and it's pretty clear. We removed two of your comments. One, because of profanity and the other because you called another reader stupid. We don't remove comments because of opinions.
    • Paradox...
      Would someone please explain to me how Mr. Pence, who suckled at the teat of the federal government and the taxpayers for years, can now turn his back on that and declare that the federal government should back out of state's rights? Really? If he was capable of original thought, shouldn't this have come up while he was suckling the money for 12 long unproductive and unfruitful years? Mr. Pence, just because nothing you ever did in Congress went any further than the House floor, isn't a valid rationale for turning your back on the government...
    • deck of race cards
      Jim , keep blaming race, meanwhile you can ignore obama's lack of results and miserable failures. what does this article have to do with obama, yet you inject race. typical. newsflash....obama being black has nothing to do with the fact he is either incompetent or corrupt. but hey, run with the incessant race comments....it only makes you look incapable of defending obama on merit and results. funny how if you criticize bush its ok, but criticize obama and its racist. thats where we are in this country. just great
      curious why IBJ censors comments??? nothing more was said than some of comments below. Picking and choosing which views are shown eliminates the legitimacy of this entire website's comment section if the comments that don't line up with IBJ favor are eliminated. Nothing derogatory, nothing inflammatory, nothing inappropriate....yet IBJ decides to erase certain opinions. So much for multiple viewpoints being allowed.
      • Nails on the head...
        Well done commenters...I can't think of a single thing to add...Mr. Pence is a shill for the 1 percent...nothing more...Been there done that is exactly correct...there is a Black guy in the White House and they hate it...all of this silly rhetoric is simply to disguise that fact...their greed, bigotry, and need to control everything is unconscionable, their supposed connection to any sort of religion is laughable, and their lack of knowledge the Constitution and History is downright embarrassing...the suggestion that Pence is possibly their best candidate is hilarious, and indicative of their desperation...
        • Umm...
          Aside from the obvious absurdity of anything Pence, what's really absurd is the fact that anyone is willing to shell out $5K to be photographed with the guy.
        • Memo to Pence
          Isn't states' vs federal rights what led to the Civil War? Memo to Pence: Indiana is in the North, not the South. Be a separatist all you want but know you DO NOT represent the majority ANYWHERE. Come clean with the real reason you want more rights for the state: You can't stand the fact there's a black man in the White House. Again, you DO NOT represent the majority ANYWHERE. Oh, and you're an embarrassment to the state.
        • Hypocrite!
          Hey Mike Pence, how about limiting the State Government meddling in the affairs of Indianapolis/Marion County??? Don't tell us how many seats our city/country council should have. Don't tell us what kind of mass transit we should have/how was can fund it. Don't tell us we can't set our minimum wage above the federal wage. Don't tell us who can't get married. HYPOCRITE!
        • Regression...
          Back to the days of the robber barons and child labor...
        • So..
          Perhaps Pence can start with telling State Attorney General Zoeller that the state should not be dictating who people can or can't marry?
        • Neocons
          Some could make a case for limiting the right wind reactionaries of the Tea Party radicals...Pence included.

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