Tuesday, September 02, 2014 4:28 PM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY
WEST BADEN, Ind. – In the most conspicuous forum where some of the earliest
comparisons of the 2016 presidential field emerged, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
assumed the role of the “happy warrior” who vowed to “out work ‘em” in the
months ahead. Pence was on the bill for the Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending American
Freedom Conference” in Dallas along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sens.
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Cruz seemed to depart with the most momentum, as
delegates chanted on Saturday, “Run, Ted, run” and others expressed doubts
about Paul’s willingness to use U.S. military force abroad.
But momentum for a presidential prospect 18 months
before the first caucus and primary votes are cast is as good as flotsam in the
dustbin of history.
Pence articulated a state-based rationale for the next president. He received a
standing ovation after saying, "There are some people who say that we need
a governor as president and I'm sympathetic to that.” Pence appeared on a panel called “Tightening the Belt on Government Spending.”
Pence boasted of Indiana’s $2 billion surplus, the largest school voucher
program in the nation, the second lowest corporate tax rate in the U.S., the
creation of 80,000 jobs, and an unemployment rate of 5.9%, down from over 8%
when he took office. “A state government budget should not grow more quickly
than the family budget,” Pence said.
Pence entered the conference with a splash article by Politico that suggested
that the Hoosier governor could have the financial support of the affluent and
powerful Koch Brothers, suggesting that support could jump-start a Pence
presidential bid. He told delegates not to "confuse the national government with the nation. The American people are strong, resilient and capable. We can bring the nation back. Be confident, be optimistic, be happy warriors."