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Via Teleconference

Q    And, Vice President Pence, thank you so much for joining us and welcome.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Dana.  Thanks for having me on.  I’m a fan, and you’ve got an awful lot of fans back in my home state of Indiana, I can tell you.

Q    Well, I’m a huge fan of Indiana, I tell you what, and I’m a huge fan also of just a lot of the stuff that has been going on the first year of this administration.  We’ve gotten a lot of stuff.  I mean the administration has gotten a lot of stuff done.  We have a historic tax reform, a repeal of the individual mandate.  We’re also seeing regulations just sliced and diced.  That’s a lot that has happened.  What are you hoping to accomplish as we move into this new year?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s what the President gathered leaders of Congress at Camp David this weekend to discuss, Dana.  Because for all the progress that we’ve made — some nearly 2 million new jobs, an economy that’s already growing by more than 3 percent, after spending the last eight years growing at less than 2 percent — this President looks at 2017 for all we accomplished as a good start.

But you’re absolutely right to say it was an extraordinary year.  I think from the conservative perspective, we accomplished more thanks to President Trump’s leadership than has been accomplished in more than a generation.  This President has rolled back more federal red tape than any President in American history, the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States, more court of appeals judges appointed in a single year than any time since the circuit courts were created.  We’ve begun to rebuild our military after years of reckless cutbacks.  And as you said, at the end of the year, we saw President Trump and supporters in the Congress move forward historic tax cuts, repeal the Obamacare mandate, and opened up the Alaska National Wildlife Region to exploration after more than 40 years of trying.  It was a year that was a testament to strong leadership from the President of the United States, and I’m looking forward to 2018 after the discussions we had this weekend.  The best is yet to come.  We believe that America is roaring back because of the policies and the leadership of President Trump and our great supporters in the Congress.

Q    That’s encouraging to hear.  And in hearing all of this, I’m somewhat bewildered when I look at some of the headlines and hear about this — discussions of a “blue wave,” which, of course, just could be super hopeful, progressive-leaning journalists that are hoping for a “blue wave” coming up in 2018 and 2020.  Because these were all of the things that were promised during the campaign and now they’re coming to fruition, are you concerned about midterms at all?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think historically, Dana, you have to acknowledge that the first midterm election for the party in power in the White House is always challenging.

But look, we’ve got a tremendous story to tell.  You look all across this country.  Look at the jobs numbers that were just released last week — manufacturing is roaring back.  I always used to say when I was governor of the state of Indiana that in the heartland, we do two things well: We make things and we grow things.

Today, the President will be at — he’ll be at the Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville.  He’ll be talking about rural America roaring back.  Manufacturing is coming back.  And it’s all because this is a President who brought a practical business experience to the Oval Office, and he’s been putting into practice the kind of policies that have freed up an American economy that’s been stifled under the weight of excessive taxes, excessive regulations, a heavy hand of government.  And whether it be policies in all of our agencies, or whether it be a rollback of federal red tape, working with the Congress, or the tax cuts, this is a President who is getting Washington out of the way.

And I really do believe that we’re going to continue to see this economy roar, and we’re going to have a great, great story to tell the American people in 2018 and 2020.

Q    I’ve always told people that you cannot lie to them about what’s in their bank accounts and what’s written on their checks.  (Laughter.)  And people are going to be seeing that very shortly.

We were told, Vice President, that the passage of Net Neutrality, or that the repeal of these regulations, or the passage of tax reform, there were actual journalists who were suggesting that this was going to result in the death of thousands of Americans; we haven’t yet seen that happen.  What do you make of legacy media?  It seems that the hysteria is at an all-time high.  Do you think that the legacy press is off the rails?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:   Well, I think the reality is that great, strong voices, like yours, all across America — conservative commentators on the airwaves of radio and television have, while outnumbered, served to create a tremendous counterweight.  I mean it is amazing to me — sometimes I turn on the television in the morning with a stick because I just never know quite what’s going to be there.  (Laughter.)

And I actually said to a friend the other day — I said, you look at a growing economy; you look at American credibility restored on the world stage; you look at our allies in Europe stepping up and investing in our common defense in NATO as never before; you see China bringing unprecedented pressure to bear on North Korea; you see Iran on notice; and all new alignments developing across the wider Middle East and the Arab world; and here at home you see a reviving American economy — and I said to a friend the other day that many in the liberal, national media remind me of what Groucho Marx used to say, which was, he used to say, “Who you going to believe me or your own eyes?”

Q    Right.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  The American people can see what is happening — that under President Trump’s leadership, you’re seeing American strength come back at home and abroad, and that’s exactly  what the American people voted for when they choose a man who said, we’re going to Make America Great Again.

Q    Absolutely, and one of the headlines that I saw this morning, Vice President, was — first thing that I saw when I woke up was some editorials from the press discussing, “cognitive collapse” with the President.  And they say, oh he’s falling apart under stress.

Now I, and half of the country — this is the same guy that everybody saw during the campaign.  What do you make of this?  All of the successes that you just listed from this administration, it seems as if this is a desperate ploy by the media to try to undermine that.  What do you make of this when they say, oh, he’s having a cognitive collapse?  Or oh, he’s going crazy and he just can’t handle it anymore?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  It really is remarkable to hear some of the commentary that has taken place, particularly in the last week when clearly a book of fiction made its way into the national debate.

I can tell you, I’ve not read the book.  I have no intention of reading it, but excerpts that I’ve heard reported bear absolutely no resemblance to the President that I spend three, four, five hours a day with every day.

President Trump has the energy, has the focus, he has the vision to really revive this country, and that’s exactly why we’ve made the progress that we’ve made in the last year.

I witnessed it this last weekend as the President brought together leaders of the House and the Senate at Camp David.  We took a minute to think about what we’ve been able to accomplish for the country, coming together.  But the President said, now we’ve got to go forward.  We got to rebuild this military.  We’ve got to build a wall.  We’ve got to reform our immigration system to put the interests of American citizens and our own security first.

He wants to resolve the DACA issue, but that’s not without making the kind of investments that will stem the tide of not only illegal immigration, but the flow of drugs into our country.

The President is committed to an infrastructure bill that will rebuild this country.  After making trillions of dollars of investments in overseas and defending other nations, the President is absolutely determined to rebuild America, redouble our commitment to vocational education.  All the kinds of things that are going to build even more momentum.  And that’s just a snapshot of this weekend.

I have to tell you, you know the President have become very close.  I’m obviously very fond of him, but serving with him every day, spending hours every day in the Oval Office, in one meeting after another — I just wish every American could see what I’ve seen in the last year.  And it would give them absolute confidence that for all that we’ve done in the last year, we really are just getting started.  And before the next seven years is out, we’ve going to Make America Great Again.

Q    Well, and you mentioned also, military — building up military.  And one of the things that we’ve been seeing today, just — I mean this is in several hours, North Korea and South Korea, they’re holding talks — I think this is the first time in the last couple of years — namely on the Olympic Games, but also how to improve relations between the two countries.  How much of this would attribute to a stronger leadership from the Trump-Pence administration?

You said previously that the President sent a message to the world with this tweet, that America is not going to be bullied.  How much of that do you think could be attributed to American leadership?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Dana, the President sent me over to the Asia-Pacific earlier last year, and we announced then what we’ve reinforced over and over that this era of strategic patience where successive administrations in both political parties have essentially allowed North Korea to run out the clock to continue to gain concessions while they develop their headlong pursuit for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, the President sent me over to tell them that’s over.

And President Trump has been marshaling unprecedented economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea.  And to have North Korea literally be willing, as they’ll do later today, to sit down with South Korea — just on the topic of Olympics — I think is a direct result of the pressure that President Trump has been able to marshal on North Korea.

And we’re not going to relent until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

And all the progress that we’re making in the region, I believe, is a reflection of the strong and resolute leadership the President has been providing and marshaling among our allies and even marshaling from President Xi Jinping in China.

Q    I loved the pictures that came out of your visit, by the way, to the Demilitarized Zone.  But you — we talked about this for at least a good half hour on the program because, Vice President, you threw some epic shade.  I just have to say.  You threw some really smart looks over there across the border.  (Laughter.)  Those were some — that was a great photo.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, I can tell you my father fought in Korea.  He fought in the Korean War.  He came back with medals on his chest that went into the drawer and he never talked about them.  But my family has always been proud that my father was one of those Americans that helped win freedom for the people of South Korea.

When we arrived there at the Demilitarized Zone, the security team told us that we could stop inside and look out the windows.  And I said, that’s not what I came here to do.  I walked outside.  I wanted to look those North Korean soldiers in the eye, and I wanted to project the resolute determination of President Trump and the United States of America to stand by our ally in South Korea, and to continue to stand for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.  And I hope we helped convey some of that message, Dana.  But I’ll tell you what, the progress that we’re making is, to your point, a direct result of the clear and strong and unambiguous leadership that President Trump has been providing, and we’re going to continue to provide until North Korea finally and lastly accepts the universal opinion of the civilized world that they must abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile programs and stop threatening the world.

Q    Absolutely.  Well, I think you did an excellent job in conveying that.

Before I let you go, Vice President, I have to say one of my — and I think a lot of people’s — favorite things about this administration, in addition to all of the conservative justices on appellate courts everywhere and everything else is the commitment to faith.  And I know that you’ve received a lot of nasty attacks in the press over that, which I think your withstanding those with unwavering faith has really encouraged a lot of Christians throughout the country.

And in an era where — we watched the Golden Globes last night — so many predominantly progressive men have made headlines due to impropriety, do you feel somewhat vindicated in terms of your commitment to above-the-board behavior and your leadership and example in that with your marriage and the way you live your life?  Do you feel a little vindicated after all of these nasty press attacks on your character?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Dana, I really don’t concern myself with the critics.  The greatest blessing in my life — other than my faith in the Lord — is my wonderful wife of 32 years.  And I’m humbled to think that our example may be an encouragement to others in and out of public life.

But for all of the discussion that’s taken place, including last night on the Golden Globes, I’m someone who believes that we are making progress as a country, and the women who’ve come forward, who’ve let their voices be heard, I admire and appreciate them.  And I continue to hope for a day where we will once again really demonstrate the kind of respect in the workplace all across this country that women and men and all of us deserve.

Q    Well, I have to say, Vice President, we are grateful for your time with us today.  We appreciate you taking time out of your day to speak with us and let voters and just American citizens all over the country hear what they can expect going into 2018.  I know that so many of my listeners are encouraged and excited about all of the successes that we have seen under the President, and we are just looking forward to a great start to 2018.  Vice President Mike Pence, God bless you as we go into this new year.

Thank you so much for your time today.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Dana.  Thanks for having me on.  Thanks for your great voice all across America.  Just you and your listeners should know — for all we’ve accomplished together, the best yet to come.

Q    Absolutely, thank you so much, sir.  God bless.