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Pence In Cincinnati: 'The Road To Victory Runs Through Ohio'

Vice President Mike Pence campaigns in Cincinnati at Lunken Airport on Oct. 21, 2020.
Tana Weingartner
Vice President Mike Pence campaigns in Cincinnati at Lunken Airport on Oct. 21, 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence spent just shy of an hour addressing supporters during a campaign event in a hangar at Lunken Airport Wednesday evening. The crowd, clad in red Make America Great Again caps and patriotic clothing, cheered and rose to their feet as he talked about the Trump administration's record on the economy, energy policies, supporting military and law enforcement, filling judiciary seats - including on the Supreme Court - and health care.

"The road to victory runs right through Ohio," Pence told the crowd, which erupted with cheers. Some of the loudest reactions of the night came when the vice president mentioned support for the military and law enforcement, Trump's anti-abortion rights stance, and teaching "patriotic education" in schools.

With 13 days to go before Election Day, Pence's message was much the same as a week earlier when he campaigned in Columbus, Ohio.

Touting Trump's Accomplishments

On the economy, Pence said, "In three short years, businesses created seven million good paying jobs, including 82,000 jobs right here in the Buckeye State."

This was a repeat of his message in Columbus, where as WOSU reported:

Pence hammered home an economic message throughout his remarks, claiming President Trump had invigorated the economy after the "slowest recovery since the Great Depression." The Associated Press has described Pence's framing as "distorted," noting that unemployment was already low and falling in the second term of former President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the country's gross domestic product is only slightly better under President Trump.

Pence highlighted President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, and his other judicial appointments, and received loud applause when saying the president "stands for the sanctity of human life."

The vice president pointed to this administration's support of veterans and the military and law enforcement, drawing a line between "peaceful protests" and "rioting." He also noted Cincinnati's high homicide rate this year and said a Joe Biden presidency would "double down on the very policies that have led to violence in our cities."

"We're not going to defund the police," he said to loud applause. "Not now, not ever."

Despite going for Trump in 2016 by eight points, Ohio is considered a toss-up this election. Pence encouraged supporters to make sure they vote, and encourage their friends and neighbors to vote, too, noting early voting is under way in Ohio. He also told people to vote for Ohio Republican congress members Steve Chabot, Bill Johnson and Brad Wenstrup, as well as Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

On The Coronavirus

Pence made his first reference to the coronavirus 30 minutes into his nearly hour-long speech. He praised the president for suspending travel from China, saying that decision saved thousands of lives. He claimed the administration is doing a great job responding to the pandemic by providing supplies and saying there will be a vaccine and "millions of doses" by the end of the year.

"We're going to hold China accountable," he said, adding a few minutes later, "Over the next four years, we're going to distribute the vaccine and defeat the China virus," using the offensive term for the virus coined by the president and shouted by several people in the crowd.

Afterward, he greeted supporters along a rope line in front of the stage but did not appear to shake hands. He departed shortly thereafter in a heavy fog.

Democratic Response

The Ohio Democratic Party issued statements in advance of Pence's visit blasting the president's pandemic response and failure to deliver on campaign promises like building a new Brent Spence Bridge.

"Nearly a month ago, Donald Trump promised Ohioans that he would 'crush' this pandemic," writes Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper. "Instead, time and again, his incompetence has only made things worse. Now, even as we’re mourning the loss of 5,000 Ohioans and counting, Trump is continuing his lawsuit to strip away health coverage from hundreds of thousands of Ohioans right when they need it most."

Prior to Pence's visit, the party held a virtual roundtable with moms from across the state, focusing on the Affordable Care Act.

"If I were to lose that employer-provided coverage, that would be devastating to us," said Bree O'Day of Warren County. "And I mean, we would go into financial ruin to protect our son and to get him the care that he needed, but to think that the Affordable Care Act could potentially go away is terrifying to us."

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.