ELECTION 2020

In Iowa campaign stop, vice president Pence touts Trump accomplishments

Mike Pence also criticizes Biden during campaign stop

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters during his stop at PVS Structures in Carter Lake, Iowa, on Thursday, Oct.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters during his stop at PVS Structures in Carter Lake, Iowa, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.(/Joe Shearer/Council Bluffs Nonpareil)
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CARTER LAKE — With a little more than a month before Election Day, Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday encouraged a crowd of about 250 in Carter Lake to get out the vote ahead of what is sharping up to be a tight presidential contest in the state.

“You said ‘yes’ to Donald Trump in 2016,” Pence said as he opened his remarks, “and I just know Iowa is going to say ‘yes’ to Donald Trump for another four years.”

Pence spoke about the accomplishments of Trump and his administration during his 35-minute speech at PVS Structures, a division of metal fabrication company Owen Industries.

The vice president cited the administration’s commitment to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States. As of January, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has added 487,000 jobs in that sector since Trump took office, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

“And on the subject of growing things in this great farming state, President Trump has always put farmers and ranchers first,” Pence said, pointing to an allowance for immediately expensing farm equipment costs and the 2017 tax reform bill that temporarily raised the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person and $22 million per couple.

Before the change, around 80 farms paid the tax yearly, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Pence said the administration allowed for the expansion of E15 ethanol gasoline year-round.

“It was this president who repealed the Obama and Biden-era Waters of the U.S. rule and restored property rights for farmers across Iowa and all of America,” Pence said.

Discussing the Supreme Court, the vice president lauded the work of Trump-appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh before saying current nominee Amy Coney Barrett has a “deep commitment to the United States.”

Pence said he expects her confirmation hearings to begin in a week in the U.S. Senate.

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Pence then shifted to a discussion of “law and order,” mentioning rioting, looting and violence amid protests in American cities, including Des Moines, and voicing support for law enforcement.

“The president and I know, and you all know, the men and women who serve in law enforcement are some of the best people in the country,” Pence said.

Pence briefly mentioned the coronavirus, saying the economy was booming before it reached the U.S. He said Trump acted quickly to ban travel from China.

Pence criticized Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden throughout the speech, mentioning the border and China policies under President Obama, with Biden as vice president, while also taking issue with the pair’s economic policies.

“Men and women of Iowa, we’ve got to decide right here and right now that Joe Biden will never be president of the United States of America,” Pence said.

Trump and Biden are locked in a tight race for the state. A recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll show 47 percent support for both; with 4 percent planning to vote for someone else; and 3 percent undecided.

Ahead of the event, the Iowa Democratic Party held a news conference, reiterating the theme that “health care is on the ballot in Iowa.”

“Nearly 90,000 Iowans have contracted COVID-19, tens of thousands are out of a job, many more are struggling to get by and there’s no end in sight,” Kate Bedingfeld, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said.

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Bedingfeld said the Trump-Pence administration is in court trying to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and its protection of Iowa residents with pre-existing conditions.

Des Moines stop

Later in the day, Pence, who was making his fifth trip to Iowa this year, told about 600 people in Des Moines at a Faith in Leadership event that “it has been people of faith I believe with all of my heart who have led us toward a more perfect union.”

The vice president spoke briefly about this week’s presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden, saying: “If you ever doubted that we had a fighter in the White House, you don’t doubt it anymore.”

The vice president repeatedly made the point during his Thursday events that “the road to victory goes through Iowa,” and he told a radio interviewer, “I just am very confident that the people of Iowa are going to vote for four years of President Donald Trump.

“We’re determined to take our case to this state. We’re going to keep working to earn that vote and 33 days from now, I think we’re going to have a great victory in Iowa and all across America,” added Pence, who referred to Biden as “literally a Trojan horse for the radical left.”

During his Des Moines event, he told the gathering of religious conservatives he is calling for a “dignified” confirmation process for the president’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, but added “we have reason to be concerned.”

Pence said during Barrett’s last confirmation hearing for the Court of Appeals, a high-ranking Democrat criticized her Catholic faith, saying, “The dogma lives loudly within you.”

“And Hollywood elites have already begun to criticize her and her family for their commitment to their faith,” he said.

“Well, I’ve got news for the Democrats and the Hollywood elites: That dogma lives loudly in me. That dogma lives loudly in hundreds of millions of Americans,” Pence told the crowd, prompting a standing ovation.

Rod Boshart of The Gazette Des Moines Bureau contributed to this report.

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