Indiana's Mike Pence vows 'huge' change in US as he accepts Republican VP nomination

Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence addresses the Republican National Convention, telling delegates that Trump will bring about huge change, while Democrat Hillary Clinton represents the status quo.
Donald Trump stands with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Donald Trump stands with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP

Indiana Governor Mike Pence accepted the Republican vice presidential nomination at his political party's continuingly contentious convention by promising "huge" change in the US if New York billionaire Donald Trump is elected president in November.

Looking and sounding more like the leading man on the Republican ticket, the conservative Mr Pence, 57, said: "You know the choice couldn't be more clear. Americans can literally elect someone who personifies the status quo in Washington DC or we can choose a leader, who will fight everyday to make America great again."

Then he brought a much-needed smile to the faces of delegates, as well as cheers, as he said: "It's change versus status quo. And, my fellow Republicans, when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America, the change will be huge."

Mr Pence put the emphasis on the "huge" in the manner of Mr Trump himself, a speaking habit that has been echoed by comedians and late-night talk show hosts when imitating the New York billionaire.

A few speeches earlier in the night, Texas Senator Ted Cruz had upstaged Mr Pence by pointedly refusing to endorse Mr Trump for president, enraging many delegates by telling them to "vote their conscience" instead.

Thus, there was a sense of palpable relief in the cheers of the crowd to hear the Indiana governor speak positively of his running mate.

Calling Mr Trump a "good man", Mr Pence said: "I'll grant you, he can be a little rough with politicians on a stage, and I'll bet we see that again. But I've seen this good man up close, his utter lack of pretense, his respect for the people who work for him and his devotion to his family."

He added: "And if you doubt what I'm saying, remember, as we say back home, you can't fake good kids."

The reference was to the many Trump children who have been paraded on stage to praise their father and paint a picture of him as loving and caring man in his bid to become president of the US.

Mr Pence himself spent much of his speech speaking of his own family and background. A Roman Catholic-turned-evangelical Christian, he vowed to work for family values and conservativegovernment policies if elected to the nation's second highest office.

It was the first look at the Indiana Republican for many Americans who tuned into the speech on prime time television were seeing. Hailing from a state that, like Ohio, was once a stronghold of the Democrats but has turned into a swing state that went for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election but Mitt Romney in 2012, it otherwise has little presence on the national political stage.

Mr Pence said he "joined this campaign in a heartbeat", believing Mr Trump to be a man "who never quits, who never backs down".

Ignoring his running mate's billionaire status, the aspiring VP called Mr Trump a friend of the working class.

"He's a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers," he said.

Mr Pence again invoked his family as he said: "I am deeply humbled by your confidence, and on behalf of my family here and gone. I accept your nomination to run and serve as vice president of the United States of America."

As the crowd roared its approval, Mr Trump stepped out on the glittering red, white and blue podium, pointed at Mr Pence, shook his hand, then gave him what the media quickly dubbed an "air kiss" on the cheek.