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Pence makes push for Trump, Ayotte during Exeter rally

Union Leader Correspondent

October 21. 2016 11:44PM
Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence addresses a crowd at a rally inside Exeter Town Hall Friday night. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)

EXETER — Calling him a candidate who “embodies the spirit of this country,” running mate Mike Pence urged New Hampshire voters Friday night to back Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and re-elect Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte despite her recent withdrawal of support for Trump.

“New Hampshire, the choice could not be more clear,” Pence told the crowd of 300 at a rally inside historic Exeter Town Hall — the same building where Abraham Lincoln spoke in 1860.

The vice presidential candidate’s stop in Exeter followed a brief phone call with Trump, dinner at Popovers on the Square in Epping, and a rally in Nashua earlier in the afternoon.

Pence, who was joined by former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu and ex-U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, used his New Hampshire stop to encourage voters to support other New Hampshire candidates on the Republican ballot, including Ayotte, who is fighting to keep her U.S. Senate seat in a race with her Democratic opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Ayotte recently yanked her support for Trump after an “Access Hollywood” video from 2005 was leaked in which Trump was caught making lewd comments about women. In the wake of the video clip, Ayotte called his comments “totally inappropriate and offensive” and said she would write in Pence instead.

The Indiana governor excited the crowd as he outlined Trump’s vision for America and criticized Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over “weak” foreign policy and the Benghazi attack.

“Put her in jail,” one man shouted.

Pence also lashed out at the media.

“They ignore this avalanche of scandals coming out of the Clinton Foundation,” he said.

Pence drew loud applause when he praised law enforcement for their work and promised that a Trump presidency would “support law enforcement at every level.”

“We will restore law and order to every city and every community in the land,” he said.

Supporters who attended the rally said they were pleased with what they heard.

“The consequences of going in the other direction is kind of frightening,” said Republican voter Rick Sheehy, 60, of Brentwood.

Art Solomonides, 60, an independent from Hampstead, said he’s still undecided but is leaning toward Trump because Pence is on the ticket.

“Mr. Pence is a big part of the ticket at this point,” he said.

Without Pence as his running mate, Solomonides said it would be “difficult” to support Trump.

Exeter Republican Donna Price attended the rally with her two kids. She said she was a big supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the primary, but is now backing Trump.

“Donald Trump is the only alternative to Hillary. I know what we’ll get with her,” said Price, an American who has spent time in the United Kingdom and was supportive of Brexit, a controversial referendum passed by U.K. voters in June to withdraw from the European Union.

Some voters on both sides of the pond have seen similarities between the anger in the U.K. during the Brexit vote and the U.S. this election season.

“I hope this is the same outcome,” Price said.

General News Politics State Government State Exeter Donald Trump

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