Pence rallies thousands of conservatives with call to fight hard at 2018 elections

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Mike Pence rallied thousands of conservative activists on Thursday to fight back against a Democratic drive to take over the U.S. Congress in 2018 elections, calling it crucial to advance President Donald Trump's agenda.

Pence spoke at the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a traditional venue for Republican leaders that this year has largely been dominated by pro-Trump forces who helped Trump in his unlikely victory in the 2016 election.

Republicans face some headwinds in November's midterm elections as they try to hang on to majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Democrats, motivated by Trump's chaotic presidency, feel they are poised for big victories.

Trump is to address the group, meeting in a suburb of Washington, on Friday.

RELATED: Inside the daily life of Vice President Mike Pence

24 PHOTOS
Inside the daily life of Vice President Mike Pence
See Gallery
Inside the daily life of Vice President Mike Pence

Pence has taken up residence at Number One Observatory Circle, the official residence for the vice president since 1974.

Source: The White House

(Photo via REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

The home is located on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory, where scientists observe the sun, moon, and stars for navigational purposes, according to the White House.

Source: The White House

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When it comes time to go to work, Pence has an office in the West Wing, along with offices in the nearby Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Source: The White HouseThe Washington Post

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Washington Post reports that Pence's White House office is next to the office of national security advisor H.R. McMaster. It's also quite far away from the Oval Office on the first floor.

Source: The White HouseThe Washington Post

(Photo via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

As a member of Congress, Pence featured a signed Garfield cartoon in his office. Garfield artist Jim Davis hails from Indiana.

Source: Roll Call

(Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

In his old office, Pence also kept a "table of heroes," featuring photos of conservative politicians like Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle, and Ronald Reagan. "It reminds me who I am," he told Roll Call.

Source: Roll Call

(Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Roll Call's office tour also revealed that the then-representative kept a Bible on his desk...

Source: Roll Call

(Photo via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

... and a shelf stocked with books that Pence described "of great consequence to me personally." These included Dinesh D'Souza's biography of Reagan, "Spiritual Leadership" by J. Oswald Sanders, Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for the Red October," "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, and "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey, among others.

Source: Roll Call

(Photo via REUTERS/Jason Reed)

In terms of breakfast, Pence's favorite food is said to be bacon.

Source: CBS

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

He also enjoys moose tracks ice cream for dessert later in the day.

Source: CBS

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In 2009, Pence told The Hill that snacking on Indiana popcorn at 5 p.m. — sometimes with now-Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel — was his guilty pleasure. "If I have not had dinner or do not have plans for dinner, I usually get a bag and almost always regret it eventually," he said.

Source: The Hill

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

During his tenure in Congress, Pence told The Hill that he enjoyed grabbing a late dinner with his family. He added that "plopping down on the couch and catching up with mom and the kids" helped him unwind.

Source: The Hill

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Now that he is the vice president, Pence's dining schedule is far more up in the air. Sometimes, he and his wife Karen dine with the Trumps.

Source: PatchPatch

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

When it comes to dining, Pence does have certain rules. The vice president tends to avoid alcohol, according to a summary of his health history released during the campaign.

Source: The New YorkerPoliticoBusiness Insider

(Photo via REUTERS/Jason Reed)

The report also revealed that Pence has never smoked cigarettes, although he did spark a controversy in 2000 by suggesting that "smoking doesn't kill."

Source: The New YorkerPoliticoBusiness Insider

(Photo via REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

The vice president also does not attend events that serve alcohol without his wife.

Source: The Washington Post

(Photo via REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

In 2002, he also claimed that he never eats alone with a woman, other than Karen. Those comments have been scrutinized recently, with commentators calling the choice sexist.

Source: The New YorkerPoliticoWashington Post

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While the Washington Post reported that she has no desire to "influence policy," Karen is one of Pence closest advisers, according to Rolling Stone. He's referred to her as the family's "prayer warrior" in the past and calls her "mother" as a nickname.

Source: Rolling StoneWashington Post

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Sundays, the Pences have been spotted attending service at Sanibel Community Church in Florida and the Anglican Falls Church in Virginia.

Source: Religion NewsFree Republic

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As his schedule allows, Pence also participates in a weekly West Wing Bible study, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Health Secretary Tom Price, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to the Washington Examiner.

Source: Washington Examiner

(Photo via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

When he's not working, Pence is an avid cyclist. After losing a Congressional race, he once biked 250 miles around his district, according to the Washington Post.

Source: CBSPoliticoWashington Post

(Photo credit MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pence has said that he also enjoys horseback riding. "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man," he told The Hill.

Source: The Hill

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Pence family has a cat called Pickle and a rabbit named Marlon Bundo — also known as BOTUS, or "Bunny of the United States."

Sources: The New York Daily NewsCNN

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While there has been speculation that Pence is establishing a sort of "shadow presidency" of his own, the vice president has slammed any indication that he's planning to take over from Trump. Pence has called the president "a man with broad shoulders and a big heart."

Sources: Business InsiderThe New York TimesBusiness InsiderBusiness InsiderBusiness InsiderBusiness InsiderNew York Magazine

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"The other side is motivated. The other side is mobilized. And so today, to the men and women of this conservative movement, I admonish you: Let this be the day that we as a movement decided to deliver another victory for the American people in 2018," Pence said.

Pence described Democrats as wedded only to fighting Trump and doing little else for the country: "Their platform can be summed up in only one word: Resist. Resist our policies. Resist our president, and resist the progress the progress that you and I and our entire movement has fought for so hard, so long, to achieve."

"And it’s up to us to stop them," he said.

Pence, who led the U.S. delegation the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea earlier this month, also focused on a familiar theme for Trump supporters - attacking the U.S. news media.

In this case, he accused the media of fawning over Kim Jo Yong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. She attended the opening of the Olympics and got a red-carpet welcome from South Korean President Moon Jae-in but was shunned by Pence.

He called her "a central pillar of the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet, an evil family clique that brutalizes, subjugates, starves and imprisons its 25 million people."

"The United States of America doesn't stand with murderous dictatorships. We stand up to murderous dictatorships. And we will keep standing strong until North Korea stops threatening our country, our allies or until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missiles once and for all," he said.

 

(Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.