Mike Pence strikes unity notes in acceptance speech

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Mike Pence to Take RNC Spotlight

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence introduced himself and offered the first taste of the pitch he'll make with Donald Trump in a broad convention speech that hit all the necessary marks. But as he sought to heal GOP divisions, earlier events on the convention floor served as a stark reminder of how deep those rifts remain.

"On issue by issue — he and I will take our case to the voters, pointing out the failures of the Obama-Clinton agenda and showing a better way. We will win the hearts and minds of the American people with an agenda for a stronger and more prosperous America," Pence said after accepting the party's vice presidential nomination.

See photos from Pence's acceptance speech:

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Mike Pence acceptance speech
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Mike Pence acceptance speech
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence at the end of the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of prostesters and members of the media. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of prostesters and members of the media. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his family great supporters on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of prostesters and members of the media. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Donald Trump joins Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on stage at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and his running mate Mike Pence appear on stage at the Republican National Convention held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Mike Pence, running mate of Presidential candidate Donald Trump, addresses the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence prepares to address the crowd, during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is greeted by House Speaker Paul Ryan before he addresses the crowd, during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Photo by Michael Robinson-Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets vice presidential candidate Mike Pence after his speech on day three of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 20, 2016. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, USA - JULY 20: Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump points to Indiana Governor Mike Pence after he officially accepted the Republican nomination of Vice President during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, USA - JULY 20: Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump attempts to kiss Indiana Governor Mike Pence after he officially accepted the Republican nomination of Vice President during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence after Pence spoke during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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The convention hall buzzed earlier with jeers when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz urged voters to "vote their conscience" and pointedly refused to offer a direct endorsement of the GOP nominee.

But Pence, who endorsed Cruz over Trump ahead of the Indiana primary in May, told the national audience that following a tough intra-party primary fight, Trump is "still standing and running stronger than ever," calling him an "independent spirit." The selection of Pence by the Trump campaign was intended to appease the more hard lined conservatives in the party, many of whom voted for Cruz in the primaries.

RELATED: Indiana gov. Mike Pence through the years

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence through the years
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence through the years
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (L) wave to the crowd before addressing the crowd during a campaign stop at the Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, Indiana, July 12, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 07: Mike Pence, R-Ind. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, right, talks about the flooding in Indiana to Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind, left, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Fred Armstrong, Mayor of Columbus, during a stop in Columbus, Ind., Wednesay, Jan. 12, 2005. A wave of thunderstorms moved across Indiana overnight, causing some scattered flash flooding in north-central Indiana on Wednesday as already saturated ground could not handle the additional rain.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Representatives Mike Pence, R-Ind. and Jeff Flake, R-Az speak with reporters outside the White House after meeting with President Bush, Wednesday, April 27, 2005, in Washington. President Bush met with several members of congress to talk about his Social Security agenda. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who together proposed a bill concerning illegal immigrants, take part in a news conference in San Antonio, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006. Hutchison and Pence toured the Customs and Border Protection Air Operations Center in San Antonio during their visit. Their proposal would require illegal immigrants to cross the border and apply through privately run "Ellis Island" centers to return to the United States on work visas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., center, accompanied by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R- Calif., left, and Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas., listens to comments during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., meets with constituents during a town hall meeting in Pendleton, Ind., Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Pence announced yesterday that he will not seek the presidency in 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., is surrounded by supporters after announcing his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana during an gathering of supporters in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, June 11, 2011. Pence promised to fight health care reform and federal climate change legislation. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., as he kicks off his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor of Indiana during an gathering of supporters in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, June 11, 2011. Pence promised to fight health care reform and federal climate change legislation. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addresses the Illiana Industry Forum Monday, June 24, 2013, in Rosemont, Ill. Pence was joined by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in hosting a business forum for a planned 47-mile expressway aimed at relieving traffic congestion into the Chicago area. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Dwayne Sawyer speaks after being named as the Auditor of State for Indiana by Gov. Mike Pence during a news conference at the Statehouse Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Indianapolis. Sawyer will complete former Auditor Tim Berryâs term, which runs through 2014. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence talks with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann before giving his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, second from left, South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, second from right, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, far right, listens as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, far left, speaks during a press conference at the Republican Governors Association's quarterly meeting on Wednesday May 21, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pauses while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in National Harbor, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the National Rifle Association convention Friday, May 20, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
FILE - In this July 3, 2016, file photo, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a news conference before attending Symphony on the Prairie for a Fourth of July concert in Fishers, Ind. Pence is one of several Republicans Trump is considering for his vice presidential running mate. Trump is expected to announce his decision on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
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The spectacle was evidence of the schism that still remains within the party — one that Trump's pick of Pence was meant to heal.

Pence remains largely unknown to a majority of voters. The latest NBC|SurveyMonkey poll found 48 percent of voters don't know enough about him to have a favorable or unfavorable opinion.

The vice presidential nominee even jokingly introduced himself "to those of you who don't know me, which is most of you."

RELATED: Trump vs. Pence on the issues

But since being announced as Trump's vice president on Saturday, the country has heard little from Pence. He was overshadowed by Trump during his rollout event in New York where he spoke just half as long as the real estate mogul.

Their first joint interview, on CBS' "60 Minutes," came off equally as awkward as Trump dominated the conversation, and was followed byreports that Trump had second thoughts even after his pick was made. And Trump said his running mate is "very establishment, in many ways," which for Pence, an early voice in the Tea Party, has never been the typical characterization assigned to him.

Indeed, Pence was also the safe pick — a politician known for his message discipline and media skills.

That message discipline was on display Wednesday night, as he rattled off a number of key conservative priorities — opposition to abortion; electing conservative justices; veterans' issues — and a number of popular Clinton attacks.

RELATED: Governor Mike Pence

"Lock her up," rang out as Pence spoke. He paused for several seconds as the chants blared, and then suggested Hillary Clinton is "disqualified from ever serving" as the head of the U.S. Military, and attacked her on her tenure as Secretary of State.

Pence also sought to reframe some of Trump's most controversial qualities as assets for the Republican party, offering a favorable contrast to Hillary Clinton, who he dubbed the "secretary of the status quo."

"At the very moment when America is crying out for something new and different, the other party has answered with a stale agenda and the most predictable of names," he said, adding the Democratic Party had nominated "someone who represents everything this country is tired of."

And even as some conservatives still seemed reluctant to back Trump, Pence asserted that the candidate has "brought millions of new voters into the Republican Party."

At times Pence's message discipline and poise read as stiff and scripted, however, especially in contrast to the dramatic moments from the panoply of prominent Republican stars that spoke before him.

But the crowd seemed ready to accept a Trump-Pence ticket. Shouts of "We like Mike!" rang out from the crowd as he spoke, and many were on their feet cheering when Trump joined him onstage to close out the night.

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