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Republican nominee for Vice President, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, spent an hour Tuesday afternoon rallying supporters at Des Moines Area Community College in Newton. 

“We cannot have four more years of apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends," Pence said during his speech, largely dedicated to the themes of restoring strength, security and prosperity. He was critical of former Secretary of State and Trump's most significant challenger in the race, Democrat Hillary Clinton, throughout his speech. He took aim at Clinton's family foundation, things she has said to international audiences and more. 

“She had a private foundation that accepted millions in donations from foreign governments," Pence said of Clinton. Clinton has also expressed that, as a public official, it is necessary to have both a public and private position. When Clinton was asked about it at the most recent presidential debate, “she gave us a long lecture about President Lincoln," according to Pence. Pence added that he would prefer Clinton not associate herself with Abraham Lincoln. 

Comments made by Pence regarding candidates was not limited to sharing the negatives of Clinton. The vice presidential nominee recognized the issue of what is now being called "the Trump tape", a recording from 11 years ago in which Trump made inappropriate comments about women. Pence praised Trump for recognizing that he had done wrong and apologizing. 

"It takes a big man to admit when you're wrong, and Trump did that this weekend," Pence said. “He showed the American people what's in his heart. Then he fought back.”

He believes that what Clinton has done is worse than what Trump did. He also criticized the media, and referred to them as a second opponent Trump must fight every day.

“It's two on one every day, with the media doing half of Hillary Clinton's work for her," Pence said. 

He shared the story of meeting Trump, and how their families came together. He said Trump "embodies the spirit of America". When the two met, Pence said that, "Other than a whole lot of zeroes, Donald Trump and I have a lot in common.”

Pence's speech had many moments of laughs and levity, but he said more than once that "this is an important election." His concern is that, if Clinton is elected and America continues to follow the policies of the Obama Administration, the country will suffer. 

Pence shared his concern about the state of America's military. For instance, we have the lowest troop level in the Army since 1940, the smallest number of Naval ships since 1916 and only 1,100 Air Force fighter planes. The average age of these planes is 27 years. 

“It truly is extraordinary," Pence said. He accused the Obama Administration of "hollowing out the military" and said Trump would rebuild the military.

“It's about peace through strength," Pence said. 

Pence touted Trump's tax plans. He said Trump's tax cuts and regulatory reforms would improve the American economy. Trump would also negotiate better trade deals to bring jobs back to America, Pence continued. 

There was also concern expressed about the future of the Supreme Court. Pence is concerned that Clinton will appoint justices that do not respect the Constitution. 

"We're electing a President for the next four years, but that President will likely set the direction and course of the Supreme Court for the next 40 years," Pence said. 

In closing, he took a few questions from the audience. Among his responses, Pence said the Trump Administration would fire executives within the Department of Veterans Affairs and work to ensure access to high-quality health care to those who have served.

“We think VA benefits are part of the ongoing compensation that is owed to men and women who have put on the uniform," Pence said. 

He was also asked about the possibility of voter fraud, and encouraged those in attendance to become poll watchers. Pence asked the crowd to also talk to their neighbors about the issues and encourage them to vote for Trump. Before taking the questions, Pence closed his speech with another request.

“It would be a good time for prayers in this country, for the next four weeks,” Pence said. “Pray that America will once again stand tall, stand strong.”

Steve Woodhouse is the Editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached at editor@journalexpress.net

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