Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence told an Ashland, Virginia audience Monday night they should “bend a knee” and “pray for this country” as the campaign enters its final stretch.
The hastily arranged visit came one night before Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee debate at Longwood University in the small Virginia town of Farmwood.
An animated Pence described his running mate, Donald Trump, as a “broad shouldered man,” who “embodies the spirit of America.”
“He’s a builder and a doer in a game usually filled with talkers,” Pence said.
Pence’s latest Virginia visit comes as recent polling shows the Republican ticket losing some ground to Hillary Clinton after last week’s presidential debate.
A Wason Center poll released Monday showed Clinton leading Trump 42 percent to 35 percent in a five-way match-up that included Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and independent conservative Evan McMullin.
Wason Center Director Quentin Kidd said the numbers indicate Clinton’s debate performance “improved her position in Virginia slightly.”
“Most significant is perhaps her
improved support among younger voters, a critical part of the Obama coalition,” Kidd said.
The Trump campaign criticized recently publicized remarks Clinton made at a February Democratic fundraiser, when she said young voters supporting her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), were “living in their parents’ basement.”
In a post to his Twitter account, Trump said “Crooked H is nasty to Sanders’ supporters behind closed doors, owned by Wall Street and politicians. HRC is not with you.”
The Wason poll also showed a swing among independent voters after last Monday’s presidential debate.
Bitecofer, the Wason Center’s assistant director, said that Trump’s “11-point
lead among Independents in our September survey” had evaporated.
“Clinton now leads that group by 6
points,” Bitecofer said.
In one of his only references to Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate with Kaine, Pence focused not on the polls, but on Hillary Clinton’s foreign record.
“It could take the whole 90 minutes” of the debate, Pence said. “And it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.
Pence said Clinton had made the “world more dangerous today, our allies less secure, our enemies more emboldened.”
“[Clinton’s] affairs record needs to be talked about,” Pence said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Senator Kaine has spent the last few days preparing for his debate with Pence, attending briefing and practice sessions at a North Carolina resort and his Richmond home.
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