GOP Convention takeaways: Pence pounces while crises swirl

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Vice President Mike Pence arrives with his wife Karen Pence to speak on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON – Republicans proceeded with the third night of their national convention, but many Americans — particularly those in the path of Hurricane Laura — were focused on more immediate concerns.



The attack role often assigned to vice presidential candidates is an ill-fitting suit for the typically genial Vice President Mike Pence, but on Wednesday he took it on, with relish.

He also laid bare the case that he and President Donald Trump will press in the fall campaign, with an emphasis on backing law enforcement, while saying little about Black Americans killed or maimed by police shootings. “We're not going to defund the police,” Pence said.

“Joe Biden said America is systemically racist,” Pence said, criticizing the Democratic challenger as soft on crime. “The hard truth is you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

In a speech from Fort McHenry in Maryland, the site of the 1812 battle that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner,” he added: “Law and order are on the ballot. ... The choice in this election is whether America remains America.”

With Trump trailing in the polls, Pence has endured months of rumors that he could be replaced on the ticket. But the president has singled him out for praise repeatedly in recent weeks, and his place, decidedly second to Trump, seems safe.