Heading into Wednesday night's speech, Mike Pence sought to introduce himself to the nation while also making the case for a more conservative government. Instead, he found himself uniting the floor of the convention after Ted Cruz's controversial speech. Cruz poked Trump supporters when he intimated it was OK to not vote for the GOP ticket.
Leaving aside the mechanics of how this could happen on the same night the vice presidential candidate accepted his party's nomination, Mike Pence was in the untenable position of sharing the spotlight. Despite that, he succeeded in delivering a very good speech, both in style and substance. He proved why he was such a smart selection for Donald Trump. Pence is immensely likable, humble and self-deprecating. He has a calm and steady demeanor. To many voters, he is the opposite of Trump.
At the same time, Pence gave a substantive speech that touched on every issue important to the conservatives on the floor. He made the case for Donald Trump's ability to dramatically reshape Washington and manage our spending and debt. He reminded voters of Hillary Clinton's role in Obamacare and called for judicial restraint, the two issues that unite the GOP more than any others. He touched on the need for conservative economic polity and strong borders. He made the case for government policies to protect human life and he strongly defended the boys in blue, an increasingly prominent rallying cry for Republicans. For a minute, he made us all forget Ted Cruz's awkward moment earlier in the evening.
But, he also stressed his Christian faith and the important role it plays in his life, and I think, in doing so, gave those Republican and Independent voters who are uncomfortable with Donald Trump's past moral indiscretions and opulent lifestyle a reason to support to the GOP ticket.
Mike Pence, who's seen both his announcement and acceptance speech stepped on, did everything a strong running mate should do. He gave a rousing speech defending conservative principles, made the case for his new boss's ability to accomplish big policy changes in Washington and effectively drew a contrast with Hillary Clinton. He was poised, energetic, confidant and he more than any other speaker unified a fractious Republican Party behind Donald Trump.