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Pence gets a warm welcome at UVA

More than 850 people filled Old Cabell Hall and gave former Vice President Mike Pence an enthusiastic welcome.
More than 850 people filled Old Cabell Hall and gave former Vice President Mike Pence an enthusiastic welcome.

There were no banners – no signs of protect on the lawn in front of Old Cabell Hall, and Mike Pence kept the mood friendly as he began a 30-minute speech.

“Hello UVA!" he called out to a crowd of more than 850. "Or should I say wahoowaa?”

Pence told his audience that as a young man he had been a Democrat, but in college he accepted Jesus as his personal savior and Ronald Reagan as his political mentor. Then it was on to a career in show biz.

“I actually hosted a small town talk radio show in Indiana for the better part of ten years," he recalled. "It was kind of like Rush Limbaugh on decaf.”

But after a dozen years in Congress and a term as governor of Indiana Pence said it was his greatest honor to serve as vice president, and he recalled historic achievements by the Trump/Pence Administration

“We became a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years. We held China accountable for trade abuses. We reduced illegal immigration at our Southern border by 90%. We crushed the ISIS caliphate, took down their leader without one American casualty and in the face of the worst pandemic in 100 years we launched the greatest mobilization since WWII.”

He also boasted of putting 300 conservative judges on the federal bench.

“Including Justice Neal Gorsuch, Justice Brett Cavanaugh and Indiana’s Justice Amy Coney-Barrett. And for my part I couldn’t be more proud to have been vice president in the most pro-life administration in American history.”

But now, Pence complained that Joe Biden was undoing much of the progress conservatives had made.

“Under the Biden administration, woke-ism is running amok in our public schools and universities. Patriotic education has been replaced by political indoctrination. They abolished our 1776 commission and authorized the teaching of what’s known as Critical Race Theory in our public schools. Critical Race Theory actually teachers children as young as grade school to be ashamed of the color of their skin. Let me be clear. Critical race theory is nothing more than state-sanctioned racism, and it should be rejected by every state in every city in this country. ”

Many seats in Old Cabelll Hall had been reserved for faculty members, students who belonged to the conservative Young Americans for Freedom and for kids who came in from Liberty University. Even so, Pence did not discuss his controversial views on homosexuality until a UVA student popped the question.

“I’m just wondering,” he began.

“Are you a Phi Gamma Delta?” Pence broke in after seeing the man’s sweat shirt.

“Phi Pi Theta,” the student replied. “It’s the Jefferson Society. “

“It’s all Greek to me,” Pence shot back.

“I’m just wondering, “ the student continued, “if one of your children came out to you as gay, how would you respond? What would you tell them?”

“ I’d look them in the eye and tell them, “ I love you’,” Pence replied.

He added that he personally believes marriage is between a man and woman, but this is a pluralistic society, and we should respect the beliefs of others. When another asked if he would run for president in 2024, Pence replied, "I’ll keep you posted!"

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief