Who is Mike Pence? 8 things to know about Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick

Donald Trump tapped Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. Whether your reaction to the news was "Mike Who?" or you just need a refresher on his two-plus decades in politics, here's what you should know about the 50th governor of Indiana.Pence has long said his approach to governing is informed not by party, but by his faith and his love of the Constitution.He's staunchly opposed to abortion, and while in Congress he led the federal government to the brink of shutdown in 2011 in a failed attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood.A born-again evangelical Christian, Pence has also been a strong proponent of religious freedom and believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.Pence and his five siblings grew up in Columbus, Ind., in a family of devout Catholic churchgoers. His parents weren't especially political, he told The Indianapolis Star in a 2012 profile, but as a young man, figures like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. inspired him to get involved in politics.He volunteered for the Bartholomew County Democratic Party in 1976 and voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980.It wasn't until college, when he met his future wife, Karen, at an evangelical church that he became a born-again Christian. A history major at Hanover College, Pence said his political views, too, began to shift."I started to identify with that kind of common-sense conservatism of Ronald Reagan," Pence told the The Star, "and before I knew it, I decided I was a Republican and moved up here in Indianapolis in 1983 to go to law school."In the House, Pence's championing of conservative social issues gained him the most attention, but he also fought to shrink the size of government, showing a willingness to buck party leadership to do so.As a freshman in 2001, he opposed the No Child Left Behind education bill supported by President George W. Bush, a fellow Continue Reading

Here are the oaths of office Donald Trump and Mike Pence will take Friday

As thousands gather at the National Mall on Friday, Donald Trump will raise his right hand and utter 35 words to officially become the next president of the United States.The constitution requires the presidential oath of office under Article 2, Section 1, stating that “before he enter on the execution of his office,” the president-elect shall affirm this:Mike Pence will take the vice presidential oath of office. The Constitution doesn’t lay out a specific oath of office for vice presidents, demanding only that they swear to uphold the Constitution. Since 1884, the slightly lengthier oath for vice presidents has read:Though it’s not a requirement, the chief justice commonly administers the oath of office for presidents, as Chief Justice John Roberts will on Friday. Trump will be sworn in on both his family Bible and the Bible used during Lincoln’s first inauguration.Pence will take his oath with a Bible used by former President Ronald Reagan with his oath being administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. Unlike with the president, there is no set tradition for who administers the vice president’s oath.And while the oaths for both offices typically go off without a hitch, that hasn’t always been the case: President Barack Obama took the oath a second time in 2009, a day after he and Roberts tripped over one another’s words during his inauguration.Obama’s second oath took place in the White House Map Room before a much smaller crowd.“Are you ready to take the oath?” Roberts reportedly said.“I am,” Obama said. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.” Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter:  @joshhafner Continue Reading

Mike Pence’s ‘that Mexican thing’ quip goes viral

If there is just one catchphrase to come out of Tuesday's vice presidential debate, it's probably "that Mexican thing again."It started when Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia, pressured Republican nominee Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, to talk about GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's controversial statements on immigration."Senator, you whipped out that Mexican thing again," Pence replied.The phrase blew up on the internet immediately. The hashtag #ThatMexicanThing trended on Twitter, and someone claimed the domain ThatMexicanThing.com, which redirects to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's website.By Wednesday afternoon, the statement was garnering comments from other politicians and many others.U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.; Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Linda Sanchez of California held a press call Wednesday to respond to Pence’s comment.Gallego said he was present at Tuesday’s debate and that the phrase was offensive, outrageous and flat-out wrong. He also said the comment shows what the Trump-Pence campaign is about. MORE: Trump talks about immigration during visit to Prescott ValleyFormer Gallego staffer Pili Tobar's tweet about #ThatMexicanThing was among the most viral of the night, earning more than 5,000 likes.Becerra said Pence's comment was offensive and it shows his record is just as extreme as Trump's."I would have never believed that I'd be witnessing a candidate for president and now, last night, the vice presidential candidate, mainstreaming the same hurtful rhetoric," Becerra said.Sanchez said Pence not only defended Trump but used the same "venomous rhetoric.""' 'That Mexican thing' — it's gonna come back to bite them in November," she said.Actress Kerry Washington was Continue Reading

Vice President Mike Pence faces backlash for photo of Freedom Caucus meeting

So the responses to a tweet from Vice President Mike Pence of his and President Trump's meeting with the House Freedom Caucus shouldn't be a surprise.The problem? The photo of the meeting on the Obamacare replacement bill didn't include a single woman.As a note: The conservative Freedom Caucus doesn't have any female members. Continue Reading

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence backtracks on ‘religious freedom’ law, demands language be added to prohibit discrimination

Facing growing national outrage, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence backtracked on his staunch defense on his controversial "religious freedom" law Tuesday, saying he wants the bill rewritten so it won't permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. "After much reflection and consultation with the general assembly, I've come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that businesses do not have the right to deny services to anyone," the Hoosier State Republican said, adding that he wants new language added to the existing bill. "Nobody should be harassed or mistreated because of who they love or what they believe in," Pence said. "I don't believe for a minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate against gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state and it certainly wasn't my intent." LUPICA: INDIANA'S RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL IS A DISGUISE FOR BIGOTRY TOWARD GAYS S.E. CUPP: WHAT FOES OF THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM LAW GET WRONG Pence, nonetheless, maintained that he was still "proud" to have signed the original bill and blamed its unsavory reputation across the nation on "confusion, misunderstanding and mischaracterization" by the media. "This law was about religious liberty," Pence said. "Not about discrimination." The law, as it was written, he added, "does not give anyone a license to discriminate" and "does not give anyone the right to deny services to anyone in this state." "But," he added, "I can appreciate the perception that it has, and now we need to confront it." Dozens of businesses and prominent industry leaders, as well as hundreds of demonstrators in the state, have protested the Religious Freedom Restoration Act since Pence signed it into law last week, claiming it served only as a means for businesses and the government justify discriminating against people on the basis of their sexual orientation by those who disagree on account of their Continue Reading

What opponents of Indiana’s religious freedom law get wrong: Gov. Mike Pence’s error was ceding tremendous authority to the government

The heated shouting match over Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act has reduced a serious issue to the question of whether or not a bigoted businessman can cite the Almighty when turning away gay folk. It’s an over-simplified, under-examined debate grounded in inaccuracies and meaningless platitudes, with unevenly-placed outrage and rampant hypocrisy. It’s the wrong argument to be having. The Indiana law, based on dozens of laws already enacted in other states, does not give businesses a “get out of gay free” card, if you will. It does, however, allow a business owner to raise religion as a defense when an anti-discrimination lawsuit is presented. There are no assurances that this defense will be upheld by a court of law. But the outrage over Indiana’s law is outrageously inconsistent. Are Connecticut and Massachusetts, two liberal states with similar laws (whose governors are, not incidentally, mulling runs for President), also “backwards” and “intolerant”? What about all the businesses that have scolded Indiana or threatened to pull out or halt expansion? Apple CEO Tim Cook, who came out himself last year, tweeted his disappointment in Indiana, saying that “Apple is open for everyone.” Apple still does business in Russia, though, where discrimination against gays isn’t merely a possibility but in fact codified into law. The company did briefly halt sales in Russia on Tuesday — not because of its laws endangering the rights of gays but because of the ruble’s plunging value. LUPICA: INDIANA'S RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL IS A DISGUISE FOR BIGOTRY TOWARD GAYS Hillary Clinton tweeted that she was “sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today.” But Clinton is happy to receive donations to her Clinton Global Initiative from Saudi Arabia, where homosexuals are actually beheaded. And Miley Cyrus, who called Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Continue Reading

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stands by controversial state law that effectively legalizes discrimination against gays, lesbians

Republican leaders in Indiana scrambled Monday to reassure the public a new state law won’t permit discrimination against gays and lesbians as national outrage grew even louder. “Because of Indiana's new law, later today I will sign an Executive Order regarding state-funded travel,” Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy tweeted Monday, the latest lawmaker to ban official business in the Hoosier State. “When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by. We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated,” he added. LUPICA: INDIANA'S RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL IS A DISGUISE FOR BIGOTRY TOWARD GAYS Mayors in San Francisco and Seattle over the weekend also issued decrees banning city employees from visiting the state on official trips. But the negative reactions were unneccessary, Indiana’s Republican House Speaker insisted at a press conference to defend his state. The furor was due to a “mischaracterization” of the so-called religious freedom law, said Brian Bosma. “What we had hoped for with the bill was a message of inclusion, inclusion of all religious beliefs,” Bosma said, as a #boycottIndiana movement took off on social media. “What instead has come out as a message of exclusion, and that was not the intent,” he added. Indiana passed the new measure last week. It prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Religious institutions, businesses and associations are included in the definition of “person” — which could lead to employment discrimination against groups whose lifestyle is deemed offensive, critics charge. Democrats have called for a total repeal of the controversial legislation. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, imposed an administration-wide ban Monday on travel to Indiana. APPLE CEO TIM COOK SAYS Continue Reading

Gaming convention Gen Con threatens to move if Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs anti-gay bill

Game over? Organizers of the long-running gaming convention Gen Con are threatening to relocate from Indianapolis if Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs a so-called anti-gay bill. If the Religious Freedom Restoration Act becomes law — it already passed both state legislatures and could give business owners the right to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds — the Seattle-based company said it would consider moving the money-making event elsewhere, the Indianapolis Star reported. "Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years," Gen Con CEO Adrian Swartout said in a letter to Pence Tuesday. Gen Con, famous among fans of role-playing, card and strategy games, drew 184,000 people over four days last August to the Indiana Convention Center. Swartout estimates the economic impact of the annual event at $50 million. Gen Con is tied to the Convention Center until 2020, according to the Indy Channel. Pence has said he'll sign the bill, which is similar to one already passed in 19 other states, including Illinois. "The legislation, SB 101, is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact," Pence stated Monday. "I strongly support the legislation and applaud the members of the General Assembly for their work on this important issue. I look forward to signing the bill when it reaches my desk.” The anti-LGBT sentiment sets Pence apart from many of his peers, since a who’s-who of conservative politicians, business leaders and corporations have shown support for same-sex marriage. "Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, Continue Reading

Sen. Chuck Schumer does not want Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to drag him into religious freedom law debate by citing 1993 bill

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Schumer doesn't want Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pulling him into the roiling debate over the state's controversial religious freedom law by citing its basis in a 1993 law Schumer sponsored. “There's no comparison at all. Schumer told reporters Tuesday. "It's a false comparison." Indiana's law bars statutes that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow their religious beliefs. Critics say it's written to let business refuse to serve gay people marrying in the state. Executives at Apple, the NCAA and other organizations have faulted the law, and a boycott push is gaining steam, prompting Pence and Indiana legislators to vow to alter the bill. Pence has repeatedly said it is closely based on a federal 1993 law authored by Schumer, then a House member, and the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. President Clinton signed that bill. It's an unwelcome and off-topic distraction for the message-conscious Schumer as he lines up support to become the Senate Democratic Leader next year in the wake of a decision by current Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to step down after finishing his term. Schumer took the unusual step of rebutting the comparison in a Facebook post and at a news conference. He said his bill differs from Pence's for two reasons. The 1993 bill aimed "to maximize the religious freedom of individuals, provided there's no compelling government interest against it,” Schumer said Tuesday. Schumer's bill was written in a response to a Supreme Court ruling denying unemployment benefits to two Native Americans fired for testing positive for a hallucinogenic drug they used in religious ceremonies. The senator says that motive makes it different from a bill "used to justify discrimination against gays and lesbians." Schumer also said his bill protected only individuals, while Indiana also includes Continue Reading

Lupica: Tell Indiana Gov. Mike Pence that the media didn’t cause the mess he made with the religious freedom law

Somebody needs to explain to Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a self-righteous phony even when backing up the way he did at a news conference Tuesday morning, that the media didn’t cause the hot mess he has made for himself and his state. Pence did that himself, with the help of the state legislators more tame than house pets. But there was Pence once again trying to clarify a religious “freedom” bill that he signed into law, one that empowered discrimination against gays and lesbians no matter how much Pence says it did not, as he continues a brand-new Hoosier tradition — he talks a lot about Hoosiers — of trying to put lipstick on livestock. “I understand the perception of this has gone far afield of what the law really is,” Pence said, on this day when he accused of the media of being reckless and irresponsible and generally a threat to everything good and decent in his state. He even was shameless enough to invoke Selma at his news conference, as if a walk he once took across the Edmund Pettus Bridge was a clear indication that he doesn’t have a bigoted bone in his body. But this was a day when you got the idea that Pence would have announced he is marching in the next Halloween parade in Greenwich Village to undo the lasting damage he has done, and continues to do, to his state. “The (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was about religious liberty, not discrimination,” Pence said. That is a lie, no matter how many times he tells it, the way it is a lie that this new Indiana law “mirrors” the legislation that Bill Clinton signed into law more than two decades ago. It is the same kind of lie that right-wing pundits who are either misinformed or just lazy like to tell, about how if you are going to boycott Indiana over this new law, you better boycott 19 other states that have similar laws. This law in Indiana is Continue Reading