Pence returns home after 'pretty overwhelming' trip

July 16, 2016

Now officially part of Donald Trump's presidential ticket, Mike Pence returned home in a private jet Saturday to be greeted by a cheering crowd and the theme music from the movie "Air Force One" blaring over loudspeakers.

The Republican Indiana governor told the crowd of a few hundred at a nearby hangar that the past few days have been "pretty overwhelming" while praising the presumed Republican presidential nominee who named him to the ticket.

"Today in New York City I accepted Donald Trump's invitation to run and serve as vice president," Pence said. "Having spent some time with the next president of the United States, Donald Trump is a good man and he will make a great president."

His return caps a tumultuous few days that began when Pence accepted Trump's offer on Wednesday, covertly boarded a private plane Thursday for New York, only to have Trump say during a TV interview later that night that he had not made a "final, final" decision.

That was cleared up Friday morning when Trump took to Twitter to announce he had indeed selected Pence.

Back home, Pence thanked individual members of his family during a short address and asked for prayers. At one point he got choked up. He also said the Pence family planned to return to the governor's residence in Indianapolis for "pizza night."

The less-than-half-full hangar was devoid of any campaign signs or other hints that Pence is now a part of the Republican presidential ticket, aside from the music. Trump campaign rally standards by the Rolling Stones and Elton John were playing on a loop as the crowd waited for Pence.

While that Indiana rally was understated, some in attendance said they preferred it that way.

"Even though the Trump rallies are big productions ... for Mike Pence, this is his style: a little more understated, a little more traditional, a little more what you'd expect from a conservative," said Dana Carroll of suburban Indianapolis.

Trump presented Pence to the nation Saturday during a low-key rally, hailing the Pence as his "first choice" and "my partner in the campaign." But he left no doubt in a sometimes awkward event that Pence's role will surely be as sidekick to the businessman-turned-reality-star-turned-politician at the top of the ticket.

When he brought Pence to the stage, the celebrity businessman shook his hand and patted his forearm before quickly exiting. He came back for a photo with their families at the end of the governor's remarks.

In contrast, four years ago, Mitt Romney introduced running mate Paul Ryan on the deck of a Navy battleship, the USS Wisconsin, off the shore of swing state Virginia. With cheering flag-waving crowds and a soaring patriotic soundtrack, the pair faced the nation for the first time flanked by a massive red white and blue banner displaying their new campaign logo.


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