September 4, 2008
Rep. Pence: evangelicals remember McCain's 2000 race
But Pence says it's ancient history.
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana believes that any lack of enthusiasm for John McCain is because of the 2000 race, when evangelicals put their support behind President Bush.
What objections do evangelicals raise when they talk about not voting for John McCain?
Well I think the arguments with Sen. McCain are more a reflection of the affection for George W. Bush in 2000. And you know elections get a little bit rough. There have been differences on issues like campaign finance reform and the marriage amendment, which Sen. McCain did not support on the federal level, but he supports traditional marriage and has supported initiatives in Arizona. I think most of the frustration is derivative of the contest between George Bush and John McCain in 2000 – and all of that is ancient history now. What I’m seeing among evangelicals and social conservatives is a tremendous amount of energy for John McCain, and that has only accelerated by his selection of Sarah Palin.
Several people have attacked Sarah Palin on experience – she’s only had one term as governor, and John McCain previously criticized Sen. Obama’s lack of experience. What do you think about those attacks?
Well I certainly think if Democrats want to fight this election on experience I’m very comfortable with that. I believe Gov. Palin has much more executive experience than the Democratic nominee for president. And John McCain has geometrically more experience, particularly on national security and national defense and bipartisanship, than Sen. Obama. But I actually think what some think is a weakness for Gov. Palin is actually a strength. I think Americans are tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C., and so I really do believe that if she carries a transformational message of reform along with John McCain to the country, it’s going to resonate with Americans.
There’s talk of the evangelical agenda broadening, and some think that may be an opportunity for Sen. Obama to get more evangelical votes. Do you agree with that?
No, I don’t. I think that values voters vote their values. At the end of the day, I believe that Christians like me are looking for people that are willing to tame a moral stand for the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage in the public square. Quite frankly, Barack Obama is not just out of sync with most conservative Christian voters in the country, he’s extremely out of sync. He’s on the extreme left wing of even the liberal wing of the Democratic Party on those issues. And I think ultimately the substantive differences between Barack Obama and John McCain will determine the direction of values voters.