Mike Pence vouches for Donald Trump

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CLEVELAND — Donald Trump on Saturday formally introduced Mike Pence as his running mate in an unscripted speech that was more about him than it was about the man he tapped for vice president.

The presumptive Republican nominee unveiled the Indiana governor as his pick during a news conference attended by supporters in a Manhattan hotel ballroom. It was their first formal joint appearance as a ticket; their wives and children also were in attendance.

But Trump spent the balance of his remarks focused on himself and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The New York businessman discussed his economic agenda, attacked Clinton, and bragged about his campaign’s victory over anti-Trump delegates who sought changes to party rules that would have made it easier to challenge his nomination on the convention floor.

Trump occasionally sprinkled in praise for Pence, saying early in his remarks that the governor was “my first choice” before veering off course. At times, Trump would steer his address back to Pence by saying “back to Mike Pence.”

Finally, Trump began reading from notes at his podium about what the governor has accomplished since taking office in 2013.

“Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is my first choice,” Trump said. “I also admire the fact that he fights for the people and that he fights for you. He’s a solid, solid person.”

Trump and Pence only got to know each other recently and disagree on many key issues, including trade and foreign policy. But Pence attempted to make clear in his speech after Trump introduced him that there is no daylight between him and his new boss.

Pence laid out his conservative bona fides, which have reassured nervous party insiders still suspicious about Trump. Indeed, Trump attributed his decision to go with Pence — which reports suggest he second-guessed — partly to unify the GOP.

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Pence made the moral case for Trump, calling him a “good man” who was making personal “sacrifices” for the good of the country, and he presented the case for electing the ticket in classical Republican terms that bore little resemblance to the populist case the nominee usually makes for himself.

“Donald Trump understands the frustrations and the hopes of the American people like no leader since Ronald Reagan,” Pence said, reading from prepared remarks. “I want say I answered this call for two reasons. First, because I know from firsthand experience that strong Republican leadership can bring about real change just like we’ve seen in the Hoosier State.”

“And secondly,” Pence added, “because Hillary Clinton must never become president of the United States of America.”

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