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Pence fires up social conservatives

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) speech Saturday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Tenth Annual Friends of the Family Award Banquet Saturday, sounded a lot like his speech from the Values Voter Summit a few weeks ago. There was lots of talk about continuing to support our troops and standing by Israel and very little talk about the Pledge to America. The difference between the Values Voter Summit and now, was when he gave that other speech, the Pledge hadn’t been unveiled yet.

Pence definitely talked about key issues in the pledge. He declared his commitment to repealing the new health care law when he said, “For the sake of freedom we must not rest until we repeal their government takeover of health care lock, stock, and barrel.”

He also spoke of what he sees as the irresponsibility of adjourning in the House of Representatives before dealing with the issue of the expiring Bush tax cuts. “Madam Speaker, higher taxes won’t get people hired,” Pence said as if speaking to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “Congress must immediately act to make sure no American sees a tax increase.”

These topics were to be expected. But Pence, who many see as having 2012 White House ambitions, also joked at the beginning of his speech about no one coming “to Iowa by accident.” He followed the joke with a full-throated backing of “traditional moral values,” a topic only barely mentioned in the Republican "Pledge to America" and perhaps his way of distinguishing himself from the already crowded presumptive GOP 2012 field.

He pointed fingers at some of his fellow Republicans when he said that some think they should stay away from social
issues and then repeated his line from the Values Voter speech: “A political party that would govern this great nation must be able to handle more than one issue at a time…We must work to create jobs and protect innocent human life.”

The audience got to their feet when he proclaimed, “Let’s deny any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America," (which he also said at Values Voter.) And he took a stand on who should be leading his party: “Those who would lead the Republican Party stand for life and traditional marriage and religious liberty without apology."