U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, made the following remarks today on NBC's Meet the Press. See the following excerpts:
On Florida Senate Race
Rep. Pence: I endorsed Marco Rubio in February. I think the real story here is that Marco Rubio won the primary early. He launched a campaign, a come-from-behind campaign that was really built on what is a broad American rejection of the borrowing, the spending, the bailouts and the takeovers of this administration. It was really born of the famous hug that Republicans were fighting against --
David Gregory: His support of the stimulus plan?
Rep. Pence: The so-called stimulus bill that has taken us from 7.5% unemployment to nearly 10% unemployment nationwide, worse in Michigan. Governor Crist, different from Republicans in Washington, D.C., decided to embrace the president's policy, literally embrace the president. Marco Rubio courageously stepped forward, he gave Republican voters in Florida a choice for a principled conservative committed to fiscal responsibility, the principles of growth and conservative values and he won that primary without anybody having to cast a vote.
David Gregory: Congressman Pence, the president came out and said there was debate about whether immigration reform would be an agenda item he would push before energy. He said this week that there simply aren’t the votes for it, particularly from Republicans.
Rep. Pence: Let's be clear, this is no laughing matter for the people of Arizona who have been profoundly affected by the fact that there's nearly half a million illegal immigrants and a rampant drug trade and human trafficking trade that's been besetting. Phoenix, Arizona is the kidnapping capital of the United States of America. I don't know if this law is perfect, but I do know that it is wrong for officials in this government to throw stones at the people of Arizona as they're trying to reassert the rule of law in the wake of the fact that this administration and this Congress have been systematically cutting funding to border security since the Democrats took control.
David Gregory: It was Republicans who blocked comprehensive immigration reform. Let's be clear about that.
Rep. Pence: Let's focus on border security, first.
David Gregory: The Bush bill called for more border securities. Republicans were with him until they were against him on that.
Rep. Pence: David, here are the numbers. Fiscal Year 2007, the last year Republicans wrote a budget, $1.2 billion for border security and fencing. By 2010, that was cut to $800 billion. If you kept funding level -- the Democrats cut three-quarters of a trillion out of this. The president wants to go to 50% of the level that Republicans spent on border security. We have got to take border security seriously. We can't blame Arizonans for trying to reaffirm the rule of law.
NOTE: To watch the interview online, click here.