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VPOTUS pool report #3 2/4/2017
Maureen Groppe • Indianapolis Star
February 4, 2017: 02:24 PM


VPOTUS spoke for about 30 minutes to about 120 people in the Senate Chambers of Congress Hall. He addressed Philadelphia members of the Federalist Society, and one small, ill child who didn't quite make it to the exit of the historic hall before getting sick shortly after the speech began.

Please check the White House transcript for exact quotes of Pence's speech.

Pence was introduced by Eugene Meyer, president of the Federalist Society.

Meyer called it an honor to introduce any VP, but he said the honor is magnified when the VP has such a strong record of promoting constitutional principles. Meyer said the judiciary should say what the law is, not what it should be, and Pence has consistently shown high regard for such constitutional principles.

The audience stood and applauded for about a minute when Pence took the stage. He thanked the group for its support during the campaign.

"It was quite a campaign but it's already been quite an administration. Am I right?" Pence said to laughter and applause.

As Pence often does, he mentioned his grandfather who immigrated from Ireland and said he wondered what his grandfather was thinking during the inauguration. Pence said his inauguration was all the more special because Justice Thomas administered his oath of office.

Pence said he always admired Thomas and the administration wants to help him with his lonely fight on the Supreme Court.

"We can do that best by giving Justice Clarence Thomas another colleague on the bench who shares his courage and his commitment to our nation's guiding documents," Pence said.

He said Trump was elected in significant part because of his vow to nominate someone in the mold of Thomas and Scalia.

He asked the audience to stand and recognize Scalia.

He said Scalia's widow and son were invited to the White House for Trump's announcement of Neil Gorsuch.

He said Gorsuch is one of the most mainstream, respected and exceptionally qualified nominees in American history.

He said his favorite line of Gorsuch's is his comment that a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge.

"I don't know about you, but that's my kind of a Supreme Court justice," Pence said.

He said Gorsuch's record shows his fidelity to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, rather than to the whims of today's day and age.

He called Gorsuch an originalist and a texturalist who will pick up right where Scalia left off

"He's cut from the same cloth," Pence said. "Our Constitution and our country will be stronger with him on the Supreme Court. But were not there yet, which is why I'm here."

Pence said filibustering the nomination would be unwise and unprecedented. He said an associate justice nominee has never faced a successful filibuster and Gorsuch should not be the first.

Pence says Trump will work with the Senate leadership to make sure Gorsuch gets an up or down vote on the Senate floor, "one way or the other."

"We're on the verge literally of reaffirming the supremacy of the Constitution in our nation's Supreme Court," he said.

At the end of the speech, Pence was given a Federalist Society tie and cufflinks which Meyer said were within the limits of gift-giving rules.

After leaving Congress Hall, Pence made a brief visit to Independence Hall.

"This is the room where it really happened," Park Ranger Jay Hinesley told VPOTUS of the Assembly Room.

Hinesley started to describe the one original item in the room when Pence interjected to say it's the chair with the rising sun referring to the chair George Washington sat on as presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention.

Asked afterward by the pool how he already knew the inscription on the Liberty Bell and about the rising sun chair, Pence said; "I was an American history major in college."

"It gives me chills to be in here, as I think it does every American," Pence said before heading to the motorcade.

The motorcade passed a group of people at the corner of Market and 3rd. The protest signs that could be seen had the words Tyranny and Oligarchy crossed out. Some watchers took photos with their phones.

Back at the airport, VPOTUS greeted law enforcement officers before boarding Air Force II.

We were back at JBA at 1:36 p.m.

Marine II took off at 1:55 p.m.



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