Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

May 5, 2014

BRIAN HOWEY: Indiana governor's disciplined talking-points script

Pence plays candidate coy for Fox News' Chris Wallace

Somewhere in a very, very faraway place, Michael Deaver and “the fellas” had to be smiling.

For here was an earnest disciple of their former boss (President Reagan) in Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, getting ready for questions from Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday.” And millions of conservatives saw this graphic:

“Pence’s Record as Indiana Governor: Cut taxes dramatically; 1st state to pull out of Common Core; Increase in private school vouchers; $400M on new highway projects.”

An image guy like Deaver would have been exultant about the visual treatment. Here on the screen is someone we not only know so well, but we could practically say his lines before they left the governor’s lips.

“Is there a governing philosophy in everything you’ve been trying to do?” Wallace asked.

“Well, I really think there is,” Pence began. “It’s why we say Indiana is a state that works. And the results speak for themselves. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest. We have one of the fastest growing labor forces in the country, and our state is prospering even during these uncertain times because for some time here in Indiana, we’ve been just putting common-sense principles into practice, living within our means, letting people keep more of what they earn, promoting economic freedom like the right-to-work. And that’s why you’re seeing increased investment in Indiana, more jobs in Indiana, and I’m awful proud of the progress that people of Indiana have made.”

The Fox anchor eventually popped his POTUS cork.

“All of which brings us to the possibility of your running for president, sir,” Wallace said. “I just happened to notice that next month in May you’re going to be speaking before the Wisconsin State GOP convention, and in June you’re going to be speaking before the Alabama state GOP convention. Forgive me for being a little bit cynical here, but it seems like you’re leaving the door wide open to running for president.”

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