VP Pence holds campaign stop in Waukesha, talks one-on-one with CBS 58

NOW: VP Pence holds campaign stop in Waukesha, talks one-on-one with CBS 58

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) – Vice President Mike Pence aimed to energize voters during a campaign stop in the Badger State with three weeks remaining until Election Day.

Pence addressed a crowd of about 250 people at an outdoor space at Weldall Manufacturing in Waukesha. The vice president’s visit comes during a week-long blitz by the Trump campaign focusing on Wisconsin, which is seen as a tipping point state in this election.

“The road to victory goes right through Wisconsin,” Pence told the crowd.

The latest Marquette University Law School Poll shows democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump, 46-41. While Biden’s lead has remained steady in multiple polls, Trump and the campaign are aiming to ramp up turnout among their base and pull enough undecided voters to close the gap and win the state.

“If you compare the Biden-Harris agenda with our agenda, the choice is clear,” Pence said. “If you share [President Trump’s] views on faith and freedom and law and order and life, three weeks from today you need to do everything in your power to work, to voice to vote to re-elect Donald Trump for four more years.”

Pence on mask mandate

The vice president’s visit comes on the same time as a record-breaking day for Wisconsin in its fight against coronavirus, with new single-day highs in reported cases and deaths. There is also an ongoing legal and political battle between Governor Tony Evers and state Republicans who control the Legislature who are part of effort to end the statewide mask mandate and the governor’s order to limit large public gatherings.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has recommended certain states put in place mask mandates as a tool to slow the spread of coronavirus. But Pence, who leads the task force, did not say if Republicans in Wisconsin should support the mandate.

“The president and I believe it is our job to give the very best recommendations to states but allow political leaders to arrive at their best decisions,” Pence told CBS 58 in a one-on-one interview. “We respect the views in the Legislature and ultimately, we trust the people of states all around the country to determine what’s in their best interest.”

Pence on Foxconn

Early in his first term, President Donald Trump touted the Foxconn development as a reinvigoration of manufacturing and blue-collar jobs in the Midwest, but that promise has not panned out as expected. This week, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said the company did not meet its required employment numbers to qualify for tax credits. Pence pointed to the global economic downturn caused by the pandemic as the reason for the Foxconn’s performance, but remains hopeful.

“This global pandemic has impacted our economy and frankly impacted the economy around the world,” Pence said. “So whether it’s [Foxconn] or any company, we believe we’re in the midst of an American comeback.”

Pence on Kenosha unrest, Kyle Rittenhouse

Pence was also asked about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with killing two people and injuring another in the unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse, who is currently fighting extradition to Wisconsin, has been praised by some conservatives as a hero. At a recent event in Waukesha, those who attended said his mother received a standing ovation when mentioned. Pence did not answer if he considered Rittenhouse a hero, but signaled that militias, like the one Rittenhouse participated in, should leave the work of law enforcement to police.

“I have every confidence that our justice system will see to it that justice is served,” Pence told CBS 58. “President trump and I have been clear that we want law and order on our streets and we want that law and order provided by law enforcement.”

The campaign focus on Wisconsin continues for the Trump team later this week. On Saturday, President Trump is set to hold a rally in Janesville.

Ahead of Pence’s visit to Waukesha, the Biden campaign took aim at the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, as Wisconsin is among the worst hotspots in the country.

“During his time as the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Vice President Mike Pence has demonstrated that the Trump Administration is woefully incapable of getting the coronavirus pandemic under control,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said in a statement shared exclusively with CBS 58.

“President [Donald] Trump has shown a reckless disregard for the lives and livelihood of the American people -- and nowhere is that more clear than in Wisconsin. […] Joe Biden has a plan to defeat this pandemic and build back better than before -- by rebuilding the middle class, ensuring the future is made in America by American workers, and finally making access to affordable health care a right for all Americans.”

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