A Teleconference With Mike Pence, Who’s Running For Minority Leader In The House

I just got off of a Heritage Foundation teleconference with Mike Pence, who has been almost universally endorsed on the right side of the blogosphere for the Minority Leader position in the House.

Pence started off with a short statement and then got into a Q&A session. My notes (not quotes) on what he said follow.

We’ve gotten away from fiscal responsibility and reform and we could use new faces to help do that. We have to have the credibility to talk to the public on fiscal conservatism and traditional values. I think the minority leader needs to challenge Pelosi and her big government agenda at every turn. We need to be the cheerfully, pugilistic loyal opposition that the American people expects.

Also, the Minority Leader needs to stand with this President when we think he is right and boldly stand against him when he’s not fiscally conservative. There is no difference between Bush and me on the war on terrorism and Iraq. I stood with Bush on Terri Sciavo and vetoing stem cell research. But, I believe we need to respectfully but firmly challenge the President when he departs from conservative values. If I am elected Minority Leader, I will stand with Bush when he’s right and oppose him when he’s wrong.

Question #1: What’s the outlook on your race?

Joe Barton helped make this race more dynamic. We’re in it, but we’re behind. It’s really a race for about 200 people — almost like running for class president. Outside influences don’t necessarily make a huge impact.

Question #2 (I asked this one): If you were elected minority leader, what would your position on illegal immigration be?

It would be to oppose the Senate bill. I believe our policy needs to be security first. While I offered a compromise last session, the time for compromises is over. That ship has sailed. What we need to focus on now is using every weapon in our arsenal to stop this bill. There is no hope of getting a good bill through, so all we can do at this point is try to stop amnesty.

More comments from Pence

Almost every member I have spoken to in the House has agreed that our spending has been a big part of the reason that we lost. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that.

I think the Dems will be aggressively liberal and will try to impeach Bush. It will be a target rich environment for the conservative punditocracy. (Hawkins’ Note: Overall, I think Pence was impressive and I considered his answer on illegal immigration to be completely satisfactory. So, all I can say is that I really hope he pulls it out. Having him as Minority Leader would be a real shot in the arm for the Republicans in the House.)

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