MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Mike Pence said restoring America's trust in government will be part of Donald J. Trump's contract with America if they win the election next Tuesday.
"It begins with passing ethics reform that will restore the people's faith in government," the Republican nominee for vice president said. Pence gave the interview right after giving a policy-laden speech to a crowd of 1,000 supporters jammed into an airport hangar adjacent to Pittsburgh International Airport.
"The American people want a government as good as its people," he said, adding the pay-to-play politics that have been swirling around the Clinton's would finally be over if they take office.
Pence said Trump's speech in Gettysburg, Pa., last month marked the beginning of restoring America's social contract with her government.
"He said we simply have to rise above our broken politics and embrace the optimism and the faith that has always been at the center of the American character," Pence said.
"The American people long for leadership in Washington, D.C., that believes in them, and Donald Trump believes that by rebuilding our military, reviving our economy, reducing our taxes and making trade deals that put the American worker first," he said.
"We are going to unleash all of the potential of the American people," he said.
Before the interview, Pence told the energized crowd, who started arriving hours before the event, he joined the campaign when asked in a heartbeat.
"Because you have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down, he is a fighter, he is a winner, and until very recently, it seemed like he was fighting all on his own," he said.
Thursday marked the second time the Indiana governor held a rally in Western Pennsylvania, both he and Trump have visited the state dozens of times this fall, Trump will hold what promises to be a massive rally Friday in Hershey, Pa.
Four polls released Wednesday show Trump eroding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's lead in the race for Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, while the state has remained elusive to Republican's fortunes in presidential elections since 1992, the state has moved more Republican 0.4 percent every year since 1996.
The recent polling shows Clinton's advantages over Trump are down from her October double-digit lead to on average 2 to 4 percentage points.
The Clinton campaign is showing they are not going to cede any ground in the Keystone State. Clinton will be in Pittsburgh on Friday morning. Vice President Joe Biden will follow with an event in Pittsburgh on Saturday, while Clinton will be across the state with Katy Perry for an event in Philadelphia.
Clinton will hold the mother of all campaign events Monday in Philadelphia, when she will be joined by President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, as well as her husband Bill, and daughter Chelsea.
It makes sense for Pence and Trump to focus on the western and center portions of the state, where Hershey is located; more conservative and moderate blue-collar Democrats are located in these regions, and polls show they are the most motivated to turn up to vote Trump.
The Trump campaign needs those voters outside of Philadelphia and its collar counties to show up in record numbers to offset the huge population advantage; in 2012, those voters cast 22 percent of Pennsylvania's 5.8 million votes.
The single best decision Trump has made during this campaign was to select Mike Pence as his running mate, said Jeff Brauer, political science professor at Keystone College.
"Pence, with his experience and professional demeanor, has given more legitimacy to Trump's candidacy," he said.
Pence has been Trump's best surrogate throughout the election cycle; he has been articulate, thoughtful, policy-driven, and fiercely loyal, even through Trump's trials and tribulations, Brauer said.
"It makes total sense to deploy him in battleground states during these remaining days of the election season," he added.
"Being from Indiana, Pence is particularly effective in places such as Western Pennsylvania where Midwestern sensibilities abound."
In these areas, he can relate to the average voters and their concerns, especially the need for more and better economic opportunities.
"As Midwestern governor, he has worked on these problems, himself," Brauer said.
Pence is also helpful in solidifying the evangelical vote for Trump, as he is devout in his faith.
"Also, his calm, cool, collective, and intelligent manner assists in convincing those voters on the fence, especially those with concerns over Trump's over-the-top personality," Brauer said.
For many on the right, Pence is now seen as the future of the Republican Party.
"Pence's engagement in Pennsylvania demonstrates how the Trump campaign knows they need to win the state in order to maintain viable paths to the presidency," Brauer said. "They see Western PA as key in a statewide victory as their nationalist, populist message has resonated with the demographics of the area, especially white, working-class moderates and independents, as well as rank and file rural Republicans."
In the interview, Pence said he felt good about the state, despite not going for a Republican since 1992.
"I think that Donald Trump has the right message that resonates with the people of Pennsylvania," he said.
Brauer said it will be difficult, although not impossible, for the Trump/Pence ticket to win Pennsylvania.
"The bottom line, it needs to do everything in its power to get its supporters, especially in critical areas like Western PA, out to vote," he said.
Salena Zito covers national politics for Newsmax.
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