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Murphy and Pence lived in neighboring rooms, and made a habit of attending Catholic Mass together on Sunday nights. It was obvious to his fraternity brothers, Murphy told me, that Pence wanted to be president one day. Pence underwent two conversions in college that would shape the rest of his life. The first came in the spring of , when he road-tripped to Kentucky with some evangelical friends for a music festival billed as the Christian Woodstock.
After a day of rocking out to Jesus-loving prog-rock bands and born-again Bob Dylan imitators, Pence found himself sitting in a light rain, yearning for a more personal relationship with Christ than was afforded by the ritualized Catholicism of his youth. It was there, he said, that he gave his life to Jesus.
The other conversion was a partisan one.
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Murphy told me another story about Pence that has stayed with him. During their sophomore year, the Phi Gamma Delta house found itself perpetually on probation. The movie Animal House had recently come out, and the fraternity brothers were constantly re-creating their favorite scenes, with toga parties, outlandish pranks, and other miscellaneous mischief.
The Phi Gams devised elaborate schemes to smuggle booze into the house, complete with a network of campus lookouts. Pence was not a particularly hard partyer, but he gamely presided over these efforts, and when things went sideways he was often called upon to smooth things over with the adults.
One night, during a rowdy party, Pence and his fraternity brothers got word that an associate dean was on his way to the house. They scrambled to hide the kegs and plastic cups, and then Pence met the administrator at the door. Typically when scenes like this played out, one of the brothers would take the fall, claiming that all the alcohol was his and thus sparing the house from formal discipline.
Instead, Pence led the dean straight to the kegs and admitted that they belonged to the fraternity. The resulting punishment was severe. Such good terms, in fact, that after he graduated, in , the school offered him a job in the admissions office. Decades later, when Murphy read about Pence vying for a spot on the presidential ticket with Donald Trump, he recognized a familiar quality in his old friend.
In the decades that followed, white evangelicals forged an alliance with conservative Catholics to fight abortion, gay marriage, and an encroaching secularism that they saw as a threat to their religious freedom. With conservative believers feeling under siege, denominational differences began to melt away. In , at age 29, Pence launched his first bid for Congress. He garnered attention by riding a single-speed bicycle around his district in sneakers and short shorts, dodging aggravated motorists and drumming up conversations with prospective voters on the sidewalk.
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It was a perfectly Pencian gimmick—earnest, almost unbearably cheesy—and it helped him win the Republican nomination. But he was unable to defeat the Democratic incumbent, Phil Sharp. Pence tried again two years later, this time ditching the bike in favor of vicious attack ads.
The race is remembered as one of the nastiest in Indiana history. In one notorious Pence campaign spot, an actor dressed as a cartoonish Arab sheikh thanked Sharp for advancing the interests of foreign oil.
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Afterward, a humbled Pence attempted public repentance by personal essay. With two failed congressional bids behind him, Pence decided to change tack.
Pence also demonstrated a knack for seizing on more-creative wedge issues. By the time a congressional seat opened up ahead of the election, Pence was a minor Indiana celebrity and state Republicans were urging him to run. In the summer of , as he was mulling the decision, he took his family on a trip to Colorado.
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One day while horseback riding in the mountains, he and Karen looked heavenward and saw two red-tailed hawks soaring over them. Before long, he was climbing the leadership ranks and making connections with key figures in the conservative-Christian establishment. In , as he began plotting a presidential run in the upcoming election cycle, Pence met with Ralph Reed, the evangelical power broker, to seek his advice.
Reed told Pence he should return home and get elected governor of Indiana first, then use the statehouse as a launching pad for a presidential bid. Casting himself as the heir to the popular outgoing governor, Mitch Daniels, he avoided social issues and ran on a pragmatic, business-friendly platform. When the race tightened in the homestretch, Pence faced immense pressure from consultants to go negative. A former adviser recalls heated conference calls in which campaign brass urged him to green-light an attack ad on his Democratic opponent, John Gregg.
Then, in early , Pence stumbled into a culture-war debacle that would come to define his governorship. At the urging of conservative-Christian leaders in Indiana, the GOP-controlled state legislature passed a bill that would have allowed religious business owners to deny services to gay customers in certain circumstances. Pence signed it into law in a closed-press ceremony at the statehouse, surrounded by nuns, monks, and right-wing lobbyists.
A photo of the signing was released, and all hell broke loose. Corporate leaders threatened to stop adding jobs in Indiana, and national organizations began pulling scheduled conventions from the state. What took place instead was an excruciating minute interview in which Pence awkwardly danced around the same straightforward question: Does this law allow a Christian florist to refuse service for a same-sex wedding?
For Pence—and the conservative-Christian movement he represented—this was more than just a talking point. Conservative Christians had lost the battles over school prayer, sex education, and pornography censorship, and the Supreme Court was poised to legalize same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, a widespread decline in churchgoing and religious affiliation had contributed to a growing anxiety among conservative believers. By , white evangelicals would tell pollsters that Christians faced more discrimination in America than Muslims did. Liberals were no longer working toward tolerance, it seemed—they were out for conquest.
After seven chaotic days, Pence caved and signed a revised version of the religious-freedom bill—but by then it was too late. His approval ratings were in free fall, Democrats were raising money to defeat him in the next gubernatorial election, and the political obituaries were being written. Things looked grimmer for Pence, and the religious right, than they ever had before. It was the Fourth of July weekend, and the two men were sizing each other up as potential running mates.
Each had his own hesitations. Coming into the game, Trump had formed an opinion of the Indiana governor as prudish, stiff, and embarrassingly poor, according to one longtime associate. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site. There is a baseball team in New York?
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She was said to have been in a fatal car accident and then, months later, died from an allergic reaction to sleeping pills , which spread like wildfire on Facebook and YouTube. In July , she was once again said to be dead, presumably because of a mural by an Australian artist that got lots of press. The perpetrator of the "joke" later posted an apology , saying in part, "… Thanks for apparently taking it lightly, since I haven't gotten a letter about a lawsuit yet. Just so you know, I'm a huge fan; that's the only reason I made this page, believe it or not.
Also, sorry for upsetting your mother.
Russell Crowe The "Gladiator" star took matters into his own hands in June by tweeting , "Unable to answer tweets fell off a mountain in Austria, all over red rover. Don't know how I got there, but the media are never wrong.
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News as their source — which was false. But the news spread, thanks to a fake Kim Kardashian Twitter account. Justin Bieber If you believe social media, Bieber has been "dead" more times than you can count. There were suicide rumors in which resurfaced in , along with a shooting in a nightclub and an overdose. On Aug. A spokesman for Soros said that the New York-based financier is alive and well. Reuters regrets the error. Celine Dion Never-ending rumors of Dion's death on social media do not sit well with the singer, in great part because each time one sprouts wings and flies, she has to ease her aging mother's fears.
The post linked to what they said was a "news report," which, when clicked, requested permission to access the viewer's accounts. He nixed the report and posted a Facebook message of his own that read, "Rumors of my death are false - Im still 'Bringin' It' 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, days a year - including leap year! Macaulay Culkin When the "Home Alone" star was targeted by death rumors in November , he debunked the reports by taking to Instagram and posting a photo parodying a scene from "Weekend at Bernie's.
Axl Rose Word of the death of the Guns N' Roses singer spread across the internet on December 3, , but he nipped that one in the bud, tweeting, "If I'm dead do I still have to pay taxes? They took it a step further by producing a video with spliced footage of a breaking news segment and a tearful anchor. Lawrence never mentioned it directly, but he did make his un-dead self visible on social media in the days following his "death. Arnold Schwarzenegger An Aug. Carlos Santana A Sept. Team Santana added to that message, posting on their Facebook page, " Thank you all for your concern, but the reports of his passing are false.
Robert Redford The Sundance Film Festival founder's publicist stepped in to call reports of his death in December "a sick hoax.