Indiana Governor Mike Pence accepted the Republican nomination for vice president Wednesday evening. Here are his remarks as prepared:
Mr. Chairman, delegates, friends, and my fellow Americans:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am deeply humbled by your confidence, and on behalf of my family here and gone, I accept your nomination to run and serve as Vice President of the United States of America.
I thank Speaker Paul Ryan for that gracious welcome. You’re a true friend and a great American leader. But Paul knows the introduction I prefer is a little shorter.
I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.
I’m new to this campaign, and honestly I never thought I’d be standing here. I thought I’d be spending this evening with my friends in the Indiana delegation.
Yet, there I was a few days ago in New York City with the man who won 37 states ... faced 16 talented opponents and outlasted every one of them ... and along the way brought millions of new voters into the Republican Party.
He’s a man known for his large personality, his colorful style, and his charisma – and, well, I guess he was looking for someone to balance the ticket.
For those of you who don’t know me, which is most of you, I grew up on the front row of the American dream. My grandfather immigrated to this country, and I was raised in a small town in Southern Indiana in a big family with a cornfield in the backyard.
Although we weren't really a political family, the heroes of my youth were President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I was young, I watched my Mom and Dad build everything that matters – a family, a business, and a good name. I was raised to believe in hard work, faith and family. My Dad, Ed Pence, was a combat veteran in Korea who ran gas stations in our small town, and was a great father.
If Dad were still with us, I have a feeling he would have enjoyed this moment ... and probably been pretty surprised by it.
But it’s my joy to tell you that my mother is here, still in shock over the news I called her with last week. Would you welcome my Mom, Nancy?
Growing up I actually started in politics in the other party, until I heard the voice and the ideals of the 40th President, and I signed on for the Reagan Revolution.
The best thing that ever happened to me – even counting tonight – is that 31 years ago, I married the girl of my dreams ... a school teacher and artist. She’s everything to me. Let me introduce you to my wonderful wife, Karen Pence.
And regardless of any title I ever hold, the highest role I will ever play is Dad. Karen and I are blessed to be the parents of the three greatest kids in the world ... a writer named Charlotte, a college student named Audrey, and a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Michael J. Pence. Proud of you guys.
If you know anything about Hoosiers, you know we love to suit up and compete. We play to win. That's why I joined this campaign in a heartbeat.
You have nominated a man for president who never quits ... never backs down ... a fighter ... a winner. Until now he's done it all by himself, against all odds.
But this week with this united party, he's got back-up! And on November 8th, I know we will elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
We will win because we are running on the issues facing this country, and because we are leveling with the American people about the stakes and the choice.
The American people are tired of being told. They are tired of being told this is as good as it gets. They are tired of hearing politicians in both parties tell us we’ll get to it tomorrow” while our country piles up a mountain range of debt on our children and grandchildren.
And as Ronald Reagan used to say, they are tired of being told that a "little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives better for us than we can plan them for ourselves."
In the end, this election comes down to just two names on a ballot. So, let’s resolve here and now that Hillary Clinton will never become President of the United States of America.
Hillary Clinton essentially offers a third Obama term. And the role is perfect for her. She championed Obamacare, because years earlier she had all but invented it.
The national debt has nearly doubled in these eight years, and her only answer is to keep borrowing and spending.
And like the President, she thinks the path to a growing economy is more taxes, more regulation, and more government.
They tell us this economy is the best that we can do. It’s nowhere near the best we can do it is just the best they can do.
And I know firsthand it doesn’t have to be like this. In my home state of Indiana we prove every day that you can build a growing economy on balanced budgets, low taxes, even while making record investments in education, roads and healthcare.
Indiana is a state that works because conservative principles work every time you put them into practice!
Today, while the nation suffers under the weight of $19 trillion in national debt, we in Indiana have a $2 billion surplus and the highest credit rating in the nation even though we’ve cut taxes every year since I became Governor.
Today we have fewer state employees than when I took office and businesses, large and small, have created nearly 150,000 net new jobs, and we have more Hoosiers going to work than ever before.
And that’s what you can do with common- sense Republican leadership, and that’s exactly what the no-nonsense leadership of Donald Trump will bring to the White House!
Donald Trump gets it. He’s the genuine article. He’s a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers. And when Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn’t tiptoe around the thousand new rules of political correctness.
He’s his own man, distinctly American. Where else would an independent spirit like his find a following than in the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The funny thing is, the party in power seems helpless to figure out our nominee. The media has the same problem. They all keep telling each other that the usual methods will work against him.
They keep thinking they’ve done him in, only to wake up the next morning and find that Donald Trump is still standing and running stronger than ever before.
The man just doesn’t quit.
He is tough. He perseveres. He’s gone about as far as you can go in business, yet he has never turned his back on the working men and women who make this country go.
And Donald Trump will never turn his back on those who serve and protect us at home and abroad. It’s been a heartbreaking time for the women and men in our law enforcement community.
In this time of great testing for them, let’s let them know - here and now - we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line.
While Donald Trump was taking my measure as a possible running mate, I did some observing myself.
I’ve seen the way he deals with people who work for him at every level and I’ve seen the way they feel about working for him.
Now, I’ll grant you, he can be a little rough with politicians on a stage, and I’ll bet we see that again. But I’ve seen this good man up close ... his utter lack of pretense ... his respect for the people who work for him ... and his devotion to his family.
And if you doubt what I’m saying, remember – as we say back home – you can’t fake good kids. How about his amazing children, aren’t they something?
These are the true measures of our nominee, chosen by the voters as the right man for these times. This is the outsider, my running mate, who turned a long-shot campaign into a movement.
And over in the other party, if the idea was to present the exact opposite of a political outsider ... the exact opposite of an uncalculating truth-teller ... then on that score you’ve really got to hand it to the Democrat establishment.
They outdid themselves this time.
At the very moment when America is crying out for something new and different, the other party has answered with a stale agenda and the most predictable of names.
People in both parties are restless for change, ready to break free of old patterns in Washington. And the Democrats are about to anoint someone who represents everything this country is tired of.
Hillary Clinton wants a better title, and I would too if I were already America's Secretary of Status Quo.
The choice could not be more clear.
Americans can elect someone who literally personifies the failed establishment in Washington, DC, or we can choose a leader who will fight to Make America Great Again.
It’s change versus status quo, and my fellow Republicans when Donald Trump becomes President of the United States of America the change will be ... HUGE!
For years we have had fundamental problems in America that get talked to death in Washington, DC, but never get solved and even get worse.
We’ve seen entire stretches of our country written off by bad economic policies, in ways deeply unfair to our workers.
We’ve seen relentless mandates from the executive branch. No aspect of our lives is too small for the present administration to supervise, no provision of the Constitution too large for them to ignore.
Meanwhile, we have seen borders that go unrespected ... a military that’s been diminished ... and promise after ringing promise to our veterans, promptly forgotten.
Then Donald Trump came along and started saying what practically everyone was thinking anyway – that our leaders need to be stronger.
Under Donald Trump, our deals will be smarter ... our soldiers will have what they need and our veterans will have what they earned ... we will secure our borders and protect our nation.
In all of this, and more, we will get serious.
And when we do, this nation will start winning again.
It’s the message that men and women in both parties have been longing to hear. But none of us should think for one second that this will be easy. The outcome of this election depends on us, and how we contend with an incredible onslaught coming our way.
This won’t be America’s first glimpse of the Clinton machine in action, as Bernie Sanders can tell you.
And this time around, she’ll have the press doing half her work for her. The good news is, it won’t be nearly enough ... not against a candidate who has captured the attention of this country the way Donald Trump has.
Issue by issue, he and I will take our case to the voters – pointing out the failures of the Obama-Clinton agenda, and showing a better way.
We will win the hearts and minds of the American people with an agenda for a stronger and more prosperous America.
Now, the establishment in Washington, DC, thinks it’s only a narrow range of voters who are giving Donald Trump a serious look.
But I can tell you firsthand, there’s a lot of Americans out there who feel like Democrat politicians have taken them for granted.
It’s union members, who don’t want a president who promises “to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” They want American energy and they know Donald Trump digs coal.
It’s African-Americans, who remember generations of hollow promises about safe streets and better schools. And they know Donald Trump will fight for equal opportunity and loves school choice.
And it’s Hispanic-Americans, who respect the law, want jobs and opportunities for their families, who know Donald Trump will uphold the law and get this economy moving again.
The Party of Lincoln was founded on equality of opportunity, and during these difficult days it will be our party and our agenda that will open doors for every American.
In so many ways, the Democratic Party has abandoned those it used to protect. Maybe they’ve become too entrenched in power, so comfortable at times that they lose patience with the normal legislative process.
It’s so much simpler to impose their values by executive order or court action, and make no mistake about it, Hillary Clinton has some big ideas along those lines.
As this election approaches, every American should know that while we’re filling the presidency for the next four years, this election will define the Supreme Court for the next forty.
We all better think very carefully about what this means for our Constitution and limited government.
Elect Hillary Clinton, and you better get used to being subject to unelected judges using unaccountable power to take unconstitutional actions.
For the sake of the rule of law ... for the sake of the sanctity of life ... for the sake of the Second Amendment ... and for the sake of all of our other God-given liberties, we must ensure that the next president appointing Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States is Donald Trump.
And Hillary Clinton's record on foreign affairs gets even worse.
It was Hillary Clinton who helped to undo all the gains of the troop surge, a staggering failure of judgment that set ISIS on the loose.
It was Hillary Clinton who instigated the President’s disastrous agreement with the radical mullahs in Iran.
And it was Hillary Clinton who left Americans in harm’s way in Benghazi and after four Americans fell, said “What difference at this point does it make?”
As the proud father of a United States Marine, let me say from my heart anyone who said that, anyone who did that, should be disqualified from ever serving as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Seven and a half years of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s policies have weakened America’s place in the world. Terrorist attacks at home and abroad, grim and heartbreaking scenes from France just a few short days ago, the attempted coup in Turkey, all attest to a world spinning apart.
History teaches us that weakness arouses evil.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s foreign policy of leading from behind, moving red lines, feigning resets with Russia, and the rise, rule and reign of ISIS are a testament to this truth of history.
We cannot have four more years of apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends. America needs to be strong for the world to be safe. On the world stage, Donald Trump will lead from strength.
Donald Trump will rebuild our military and stand with our allies. Donald Trump will confront radical Islamic terrorism at its source and destroy the enemies of our freedom.
If the world knows nothing else, it will know this: America stands with Israel.
If you looked at a calendar this morning, you might have noticed that the presidency of Barack Obama ends exactly six months from today.
And this much is certain of the Obama years: they are not ending well.
There seem to be so many things that divide us ... so few great purposes that unite us as they once did. And it’s at moments like this, moments when politics fail, that we do well to remember that what unites us far exceeds anything that sets us apart.
That we are, as we have always been, one nation, under God.
Should I have the awesome privilege to serve as your vice president, I promise to keep faith with that conviction. To pray daily for a wise and ‘discerning heart ... for who is able to govern this great people?’
My fellow Americans, I believe we have come to another rendezvous with destiny, and I have faith ... faith in the boundless capacity of the American people and faith that God can still heal our land.
But we have a choice to make. This is another time for choosing.
If you want a president who will protect this nation, confront radical Islamic terrorism and rid the world of ISIS ...
If you want a president who will restore law and order to this country and give law enforcement the support and resources they deserve ...
If you want a president who will cut taxes, grow our economy and squeeze every nickel out of the federal bureaucracy ...
If you want a president who will upend the status quo in Washington, DC, and appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will uphold the constitution ...
If you want a president who will build strong borders and enforce our laws and end the flood of illegal immigration ...
We have but one choice and that man is ready, this team is ready, our party is ready, and when we elect Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States, together we will Make America Great Again.
Now let’s go get this done!
Thank you and God bless you and God bless the United States of America.