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Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a conservative stalwart picked by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to be his vice presidential running mate, is set to make the case Wednesday why they should be elected as the next American leaders.
Pence, a long-time congressman from the midwestern state and later its chief executive, has been linking Trump this week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, to the heritage of a favorite Republican icon, Ronald Reagan, who served two terms as the U.S. president in the 1980s.
Pence, 57, is making the headline speech on the third day of the four-day quadrennial convention, a day after convention delegates formally nominated Trump and him to face Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, and her yet-to-be-named running mate in the November national election.
'Make America First Again'
Pence plans to tell a nationally televised audience that "under a Trump administration, America will once again be a beacon of progress and opportunity," after "years of bad policies and poor leadership have weakened our position in the world."
Trump, a brash, billionaire real estate mogul, is the first major party presidential candidate in the U.S. since the 1950s to become a Republican or Democratic standard bearer without ever having held elected office. He surged past 16 other Republican contenders, many of them current or former senators and governors, in an often bitter, year-long campaign to claim the nomination, with Trump often taunting his rivals with belittling nicknames.
Ahead of Pence, three more of Trump's vanquished foes are set Wednesday for appearances at the convention, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in person, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio by video.
Cruz, Rubio to speak
U.S. political analysts are particularly awaiting Cruz's address. A conservative firebrand, Cruz was Trump's closest challenger before the one-time television reality show host clinched the presidential nomination in May, but Cruz has yet to endorse his one-time rival. Their head-to-head match ended contentiously, with Cruz deriding Trump as "a serial philanderer," a "pathological liar" and "utterly amoral."
Convention delegates shouted their rejection of the possibility of Clinton as the next U.S. leader at Tuesday's session, yelling "Lock her up!" as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took on the role of a prosecutor and put Clinton on mock trial.
Republicans have derided her handling of classified information on her private email server while she served as the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. The chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently concluded that she was "extremely careless" in dealing with the national security material, but that no criminal charges were warranted.
Tuesday at the convention showcased the main Republican criticisms of Clinton, portraying her candidacy as a bid to extend what they call the failing policies of President Barack Obama and calling her a liar who put the country in danger with her use of the private email server.
House Speaker Paul Ryan accused Democrats of constantly dividing people and "playing one group against the other."
"Here we are, at a time when men and women in both parties so clearly, so undeniably want a big change in direction for America, a clean break from a failed system," Ryan said. "And what does the Democratic Party establishment offer? What is their idea of a clean break? They are offering a third Obama term brought to you by another Clinton," a reference to her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton watching, responding
The Clinton campaign was vocal throughout the night, offering statements and tweets in response to each of the day's major speakers.
"Despite repeatedly attacking Trump's divisive rhetoric and dangerous policies, Speaker Paul Ryan has chosen to put politics over country and wholeheartedly endorse Donald Trump and his candidacy for president," one statement read.
New Jersey's Christie, who also lost to Trump in the Republican presidential race, claimed that "Hillary Clinton cared more about protecting her own secrets than she cared about protecting American secrets."
His criticism focused largely on her time as secretary of state during Obama's first term, blaming her for mistakes regarding Libya, Syria, Russia, Iran and Cuba.
"We cannot promote someone to commander in chief who has made the world a more violent and dangerous place," Christie said.
Clinton responded by pointing to a scandal involving members of Christie's administration in New Jersey who were accused of ordering the partial closure of a bridge into New York City in retaliation against a local politician.
"If you think Chris Christie can lecture anyone on ethics, we have a bridge to sell you," she wrote on Twitter.
Clinton will be officially nominated by her party at its convention next week, setting up the November 8 showdown with Trump. He is set to formally accept the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night.
Source: Voice of America