Pence went to Hanover College to study American history, before earning his law degree at Indiana University. One of Pence’s personal heroes is George Washington, who put a premium on civil public discourse while other Founding Fathers were feuding.
Another hero is the late Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican congressman who was a staunch defender of “traditional” values, an ardent abortion opponent and the chief manager of the impeachment case against President Bill Clinton.
“Henry Hyde took strong stands but always with a gentle hand,” Pence said.
Last year, the pro-life Pence authored what was called the “Pence Amendment,” which would have ended taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood is not permitted to spend federal funds on abortions, critics such as Pence say the federal dollars used for other expenses frees up funds for abortions.
He won big support for it in the House, but the amendment, tacked onto a continuing budget resolution, nearly derailed the critical budget deal between the Obama administration and Congress.
Pence’s Democratic opponent, John Gregg, has tried to portray Pence as too divisive for Indiana, telling voters that Pence would pursue a “social issues” agenda.
“That's all he’s been about,” Gregg said. “We in Indiana need to stay away from divisive issues — we can’t even agree on class basketball and time zones.”
Pence, meanwhile, has focused his campaign message on jobs, education, taxes and the economy. His “Road Map for Indiana,” which he touts at every chance, outlines the goals of a Pence administration. It includes his call for a 10 percent cut in the state’s income tax rate, but not much in the “social issues” area, other than a pledge to “promote marriage” by requiring state agencies to draft a “family impact statement” whenever they adopt new rules and regulations.