Speaks to 730 people
during state dinner
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (WANE) - U.S. Rep. Mike Pence revved up about 730 people at the Indiana Republican state dinner Thursday night by urging them to help the party regain control of the U.S. House in November and the presidency in 2012.
The congressman from eastern Indiana, who has been a leading critic of the Obama administration as the third-ranking Republican in the House, said President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have put the nation on a course of runaway spending and big government.
"I believe the American people are on the march for freedom," Pence said. "Even Republicans in Congress have returned to fiscal discipline and reform. Americans are back in the fight and back in the fight on the right."
Pence said House Republicans would stay focused on trying to dismantle the health care overhaul legislation enacted last month.
"I know Democrats think that is over," he said. "Democrats may have had their say on the third Sunday in March, but the American people will have their say on the first Tuesday of November. House Republicans will not rest until we repeal the government takeover of health care lock, stock and barrel."
Indiana Republicans have hopes of winning the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Evan Bayh, as well as House seats now held by Democratic Reps. Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill. But a top priority also is regaining control of the Indiana House, which would allow Republicans to redraw district maps for the chamber in 2011.
Tickets to Thursday's dinner at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis cost $200 each, helping the party raise more than $140,000. Arrangements were made so people could text in contributions from their dinner tables.
Pence plans on going to New Orleans in the next couple of days to attend the three-day Southern Republican Leadership Conference, joining several Republicans considering a challenge to Obama in his 2012 re-election bid.
The event that began Thursday features such names as Sarah Palin, Haley Barbour and Newt Gingrich, as well as GOP up-and-comers like Pence and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Pence said Thursday night that one way to revamp the economy would be across-the-board tax cuts, not the stimulus package Obama supported that Pence has called a piecemeal list of projects and boutique tax cuts.
"We must return incentive to the American people and the American economy," he said. "Get government out of the way and Indiana and America will come roaring back."
Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who also has been mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential contender, also spoke at the Indianapolis dinner. He said Pence was an "agent of change" whom Indiana residents should be proud of.
"He's everything we want to state of Indiana to be," Daniels said. "He speaks forcefully when bad ideas are afoot."
Among those attending the dinner was Christa Coffey of Lafayette, who said it was exciting to hear Pence speak.