Trump, Pence Strike Contrasting Tones On Campaign Trail Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, strike very different tones on the campaign trail.
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Trump, Pence Strike Contrasting Tones On Campaign Trail

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Trump, Pence Strike Contrasting Tones On Campaign Trail

Trump, Pence Strike Contrasting Tones On Campaign Trail

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Donald Trump has spent the presidential campaign defying the careful style of most politicians. His running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, embodies it.

NPR's Sarah McCammon spent time this week with both candidates, and reports on two men who are running together, but working from different scripts.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: While his running mate is holding rallies in big arenas, Mike Pence tends to hold smaller town halls in places like Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Ariz.

UNIDENTIFIED BAND: (Singing) Let the walls come down. Let the walls come down.

MCCAMMON: Pence is an evangelical Christian, and seems right at home in a sanctuary with a praise band singing "Let The Walls Come Down." He's spending much of his time trying to reassure audiences like these that Trump is a good guy.

MIKE PENCE: All you need to know about Donald Trump is he loves his family and he loves this country. And he's going to be a great president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAMMON: Earlier in the day at a town hall in the conservative Christian bastion of Colorado Springs, Pence delivered this favorite self-deprecating line.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: You know, when they chose me for the ticket, I said to people, you know, Donald Trump is a charismatic personality bigger than life. So they obviously wanted to balance...

(LAUGHTER)

PENCE: ...The ticket.

MCCAMMON: Soon after joining the ticket, Pence told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, I don't think name calling has any place in public life. There, the contrast was clear.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: Lying Ted Cruz...

Crazy Bernie, he does...

Little Marco...

Crooked Hillary.

MCCAMMON: Of course, Trump hasn't just criticized fellow candidates in this campaign. After he was denounced at the Democratic National Convention by a Muslim family whose son died while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, Trump hit back hard, criticizing the family on TV and on Twitter. Pence, on the other hand, referred to Captain Humayun Khan as an American hero.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: And Capt. Khan and his family, like all Gold Star families, should always be cherished by all the people of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAMMON: It's not just a matter of tone. Pence and Trump have also diverged on policy issues and even facts. For years, Trump pushed the disproven myth that President Obama might have been born in Kenya, and ineligible to be president.

In an interview with Sarasota, Fla., TV station WWSB last week, Pence said this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: Donald Trump and I both accept that the president was born in the United States of America. Questions were raised in prior campaigns over the last four and eight years by various sources, and they've all been answered.

MCCAMMON: The next day, Trump declined to answer a question from the Washington Post about whether he believed the president was born in the United States, before finally acknowledging that fact.

Pence's more restrained style is reassuring to some hesitant Republicans, like Alan Scott, a pastor in Colorado Springs. Scott and his wife came to a private meeting with Pence and church leaders this week. Scott says he's not ready to endorse anybody, but he appreciates how Pence threads the needle.

ALAN SCOTT: He doesn't necessarily endorse everything Donald says. But he says - yeah, he says it different than I would, but I like his passion, or whatever he goes on then to say. It's very smooth, I think he does a good job of it. I wouldn't want to be Trump's vice president. That's just a tough, tough role to be in.

MCCAMMON: Voters will have the opportunity to imagine Mike Pence in that role soon. While there's a lot of anticipation for the first presidential debate on Monday, Pence will square off with Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine the following week, in what's expected to be a lower key event.

Sarah McCammon, NPR News.

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