50 Little-Known Facts about Mike Pence

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published November 19, 2016
  • Pence's favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.[2]
  • Superman is Mike Pence's favorite superhero.[2]
  • Mike Pence's favorite flavor of ice cream is Moose Tracks.[2]
  • Pence is a life-long Chicago Cubs' fan.[7]
  • Pence had originally endorsed Republican candidate Ted Cruz during the 2016 campaign before he became Trump's running mate.
    [9]
  • American political theorist, Russell Kirk, strongly influenced Pence's conservative views
  • In addition to his religion, Pence said political theorist Russell Kirk also strongly influenced his views on governance. Kirk's 1953 book The Conservative Mind, helped create the post-World War II conservative movement.[4]
  • When Trump suggested blocking all Muslims from immigrating to the U.S., Pence was one of the many Republicans who condemned the idea.[11]
  • In contrast to Trump, Pence supports the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Central American Free Trade Agreement. While in Congress, he voted in favor of nearly every free trade agreement.[11]
  • Pence once tried to launch a state-run news organization funded by taxpayers' dollars. Called “Just IN," it was widely criticized and compared to Pravda, the news outlet of Russia’s Communist Party.[11]
  • Pence has regularly sidestepped the question of whether he believes in evolution.[11]
  • In 2011, Pence threated to help shut down the federal government unless the government stopped funding Planned Parenthood.[1]
  • In 2015, Pence controversially signed into law a "religious freedom" bill.  Critics said the bill could allow business owners to ban LGBT customers based on a claim of religious freedom. Amid widespread backlash, Pence later revised the law.[11]
  • Fellow conservatives raised alarm when Pence endorsed educational standards too similar to the national Common Core standards, a program that many Republicans see as a federal intrusion into state rights.[1]
  • Pence opposed President George W Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy in 2001, and the Medicare prescription drug expansion the next year.[1]
  • Pence believed a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage would uphold "God's plan"
  • In 2006, Pence argued that gay couples signaled "societal collapse." According to Pence, homosexuality is a choice and that prohibiting same-sex marriage was enforcing God's plan and not a form of discrimination.[3]
  • Pence's conservative stance is well known. Among other issues, he opposes stem cell research and supported Bush's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.[9]
  • Pence was not always a Republican, and for many years, his hero was JFK. He swapped political parties while at Hanover college, where he said he was inspired by Reagan’s views on limited government.[9]
  • After running two negative campaigns in 1988 and 1990 and losing both times, Pence wrote at essay in 1991 titled “Confessions of Negative Campaigner,” in which he promised to only run positive campaigns in the future. 
    [9]
  • In the 1990s, Mike Pence hosted the "Mike Pence Show." He called himself "Rush Limbaugh on decaf" because he considered himself politically conservative but not as outspoken as Limbaugh.[9]
  • Pence was among the leading opponents of the federal bailout in 2008.[9]
  • Mike and his wife, Karen Pence, met while attending a Catholic church (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
  • Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, a former elementary school teacher, have been married since 1985.[2]
  • After Pence signed a bill in spring of 2016 that prohibited abortions because of the race, gender, or disability of the fetus, women started calling his office to tell them about their periods as a way to protest. A federal judge blocked the bill, stating the state doesn't have a right to determine why a woman ends her pregnancy.[12]
  • Pence’s zodiac sign is Gemini.[9]
  • In 2007, Pence voted against the Employment of Non-Discrimination Act. The Act would have banned discrimination against people based on sexual orientation.[3]
  • In 2016, Pence opposed Obama's directive that school districts should allow students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.[3]
  • Mike Pence is of Irish-Catholic descent. His grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland through Ellis island and later worked as a bus driver in Chicago.[9]
  • Pence controversially compared the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He later apologized.[2]
  • Pence was a major supporter of the Iraq War.[11]
  • Pence insisted that there was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda (Scott Nelson / Getty Images)
  • In 2014, Pence traveled to Israel, which is a common destination for U.S. presidential hopefuls. While there, Pence met with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, who then posted a video of the pair on Twitter.[2]
  • One of Pence's favorite phrases is "I'm a conservative, but I'm not angry about it."[2]
  • Pence and his wife, Karen, have three adult adult children. Their son, Michael Pence is a Marine Corps officer. Their daughter, Charlotte is a filmmaker, and their youngest child, Audrey, attends Hanover College. She considers herself socially liberal and says her father is proud of her for making her own decisions.[9]
  • Mike Pence with his mother Nancy Pence, daughter Audrey Pence (left), son Michael Pence (2nd left), wife Karen Pence (2nd-right) and daughter Charlotte Pence (right) (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
  • Pence called Trumps comments "inappropriate" after Trump argued that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be impartial in two lawsuits against Trump University because Curiel had Mexican heritage.[2]
  • According to his website, Mike Pence's favorite book is the Holy Bible.[5]
  • According to Pence, his favorite subject in school was history.[5]
  • Pence's favorite colors are blue and gold.[5]
  • According to his website, Pence has a beagle named Maverick, and two cats named Pickle and Oreo.[5]
  • Mike Pence attempted to prevent Syrian families from resettling in Indiana
  • As governor of Indiana, Pence tried to prevent the settlement of Syrian refugees in the state. However, a federal appeals court panel Monday blocked his attempts.[2]
  • After the leak of the infamous 2005 "pussy-grabbing" Access Hollywood tape, Pence allegedly considered backing out of vice presidency. He ultimately decided to stay.[12]
  • According to the New York Times, low-key Pence is a perfect running mate to the more flamboyant Trump. Other VP contenders, such as Christie or Gingrich were too much of showmen to complement Trump.[12]
  • Pence's father was a Korean War veteran and managed several gas stations.[13]
  • Mike Pence's breakthrough moment happened in 2009 when he was elected as the Republican Conference Chairman, which is the third-highest-ranking Republican leadership position.[13]
  • Pence is the first Republican from Indiana to run for vice-president since Dan Quayle, who was George H. W. Bush's VP.[13]
  • Unlike Trump, Pence believes that there is no question that human activity has affected the environment and the climate.[13]
  • In 2000, Pence stated that he doesn't believe that smoking kills people. Unfortunately, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.[8]
  • Cyrus wants to put a wrecking ball to Pence's strong anti-LGBT stance (Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images)
  • Miley Cyrus once called Mike Pence an "a--hole" because of his strong anti-LGBT stance.[2]
  • Pence once wrote a review for the movie Titanic, arguing that the movie was actually a metaphor for the erosion of American values.[10]
  • According to Pence, his approach to governing is guided not by party, but by his "faith and love" of the Constitution.[4]
  • In 2016, Pence came under fire for his decision to withhold certain emails after a public records request.[6]
  • Pence is a six-term Congressman, serving from 2001-2012.[4]
  • Before Pence would approve federal funding for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, he demanded the government cut its budget.[4]
  • Mike Pence Timeline
    1959Pence was born to Ed and Nancy Pence in Indiana. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley.
    1970While in 5th grade, Pence won an oratorical contest sponsored by the Columbus Optimist Club. He competed against sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders.
    1977Pence graduated from Columbus North High School, where he served as president of the senior class. He was also a member of the speech team, competed wresting, and was on the school newspaper. 
    1981Pence graduated from Hanover College. While there, he was the chapter president of Phi Gamma Delta. A life long democrat, Pence swaps political parties while in college.
    1984Pence marries Karen Batten.
    1986After graduating from Indiana University School of Law, Pence begins to practice law in Indianapolis.
    1988Despite reservations from his family, Pence launches his first bid for congressional office. He ultimately lost to incumbent, Phil Sharp.
    1990For a second time, Pence launches a bid for the 2nd District congressional seat and loses. He apologizes for running a negative campaign. 
    1991Pence begins working with the Indiana Policy Review and begins practicing as a private attorney. He begins to host a conservative Christian talk show.
    2000For a third time, Pence tries to re-enter politics with another congressional bid, and he succeeds. 
    2006Pence attempts to become the Republican Party's minority leader, but is defeated by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.
    2009Pence is elected as the Republican conference chairman, the third-ranking leadership position. Several political commentators suggest he would be a possible presidential candidate.
    2010A Values Voters Summit poll names Pence the top choice for president.
    2012Pence defeats  Democrat John Gregg to become governor of Indiana. Pence received 1,268,076 votes to Gregg’s 1,187,508, a margin of 80,568 votes.
    2016On July 15th, Trump announced that Pence will be his running mate.
References

1 Cook, Tony. “Is Gov. Mike Pence Moving to the Center Amid Talk of a Presidential Run?” Indy Star. May 31, 2014. Accessed: November 16, 2016.

2 de la Cuertara, Ines and Chris Good. "Mike Pence: Everything You Need Know." ABC News. July 20, 2016. Accessed: November 17, 2016.

3 Drabold, Will. "Here’s What Mike Pence Said on LGBT Issues Over the Years." Time. July 15, 2016. Accessed: November 17, 2016.

4 Eason, Brian. "Next VP: 10 Things to Know About Indiana Gov. Mike Pence." Indy Star. November 9, 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2016.

5 "Governor Fun Facts." Indiana Governor Mike Pence. 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2016.

6 Guerra, Kristine. "Mike Pence Has His Own Email Controversy in Indiana." The Washington Post.

7 He, Alan. "Pence Won't Abandon Cubs for Ohio Votes." CBS News. October 25, 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2016.

8 Letzer, Rafi. "Mike Pence, the US Vice President-Elect, Has Said He Doesn't Believe that Smoking Kills." Business Insider. November 9, 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2016.

9Mike Pence Biography.” Biography. 2016. Accessed: November 14, 2016.

10 Mukherjee, Sy. "Donald Trump's Running Mate Has Some Truly Strange Views on Modern Science." Fortune. July 15, 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2016.

11 Reilly, Mollie, et al. “Here’s What You Should Know about Mike Pence.” Huffington Post. July 14, 2016. Accessed: November 16, 2016.

12 Sebastian, Michael. "Who is Mike Pence? 8 Things to Know about Donald Trump's Running Mate." Cosmopolitan. 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2106.

13 Smith, David. "Tim Kaine v Mike Pence: What to Know about the Vice-Presidential Candidates." The Guardian. October 4, 2016. Accessed: November 18, 2016.

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