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Pence Stumps for Trump in Newton

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Real Clear Politics
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The political news and polling aggregator Real Clear Politics' average of Iowa polls suggests the Trump-Pence ticket has a slight lead in Iowa, four weeks before the election.

GOP vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana stumped on Tuesday at the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton. The visit comes less than a week after a tape surfaced of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. 

Pence says he was “offended” by Trump’s comments, and even canceled a campaign event over the weekend. But Pence told supporters in Newton that Trump's apology shows humility, and adds that next month’s election isn’t so much a choice between two people, but between two futures.

"I choose a stronger America. I choose a more prosperous America. I choose an America that respects our constitution, and our highest ideals," says Pence. "So I choose to stand with Donald Trump."

Pence highlighted Trump’s plans to cut taxes and build up the military, and says that Trump will nominate jurists to the federal bench who are like the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Since the tape became public scores of Republicans have unendorsed Trump, or said he should step aside with Pence taking his place. Some like House Speaker Paul Ryan are still endorsing the Republican nominee, but say they will no longer defend him.

Before Pence took the stage, Rep. Steve King also spoke at the rally and attacked Ryan for not standing by Trump and for making his desertion so public.

“Maybe we wouldn’t have noticed because I hadn’t seen him advocating for Donald Trump up until this point either,” says King. “I think it hurts a lot. And it changed the narrative and the bounce, and the spring that would have come from a rousing victory in the debate on Sunday night was diminished.”

There isn’t a clear consensus of who won that most recent presidential debate. Ryan says he will spend the rest of the election focusing on keeping a Republican majority in the House.

At least one undecided voter was swayed by King. Before the rally, retired grandmother Pam Sanders of Gibson said she hadn't decided for sure if she would vote for the Trump-Pence ticket. 

"He acts like an uneducated man," says Sanders. "He really doesn't give you answers, he just tries to build himself up...I want answers."

But after the rally Sanders said, "Steve King convinced me," and that she would vote for Trump.

The Trump tape wasn't the only awkward topic touched on during the late afternoon rally.

Pence briefly discussed the humanitarian crisis in Syria. But he did not mention Russia’s role in the crisis other than to say that the policies of Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are to blame for Moscow’s relationship with Syria’s leadership. 

On Sunday evening's debate with Clinton, Trump said he disagreed with Pence over whether to use U.S. military force against the Bashar al-Assad regime in response to Russian airstrikes on Syrian civilians. Pence did not directly discuss the confusion or disagreement over policy between him and his running mate.

"What I will tell you is that when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of American we’re going to establish safe zones so people can get out of harm’s way in places like Aleppo," says Pence. "We’re going to marshal the resources of our country to go into Syria and hunt down, and destroy ISIS at its source. So it can no longer inspire and threaten our people. We’re going to focus on ISIS."

Trump praises Russia and Assad’s opposition of ISIS forces in Syria. 

During the rally Pence also discussed Benghazi and recently released emails by WikiLeaks. The missives show the Department of Justice communicated with Clinton's campaign about the investigation into Clinton's private email server. 

"The American people remember a day when we had a president in Washington who erased 18 1/2 minutes and they ran him out of town," says Pence. "Well Hillary Clinton actually used high technology to erase nearly 18,000 emails. Men and women that doesn't sound like politics, that sounds like obstruction and the American people are sick and tired of it."

Pence ended the event by telling supporters to pray for Trump to win the election, and said people should reach out to neighbors and friends to convince them to vote for the Republican ticket.