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Mike Pence: Politics is No Place for 'Name Calling'

Mike Pence chastised President Obama for referring to Donald Trump as a demagogue, saying “name calling” has no “place in public life.”
Image: RNC in Cleveland 2016
Indiana Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks during the third day of the 2016 Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20.DAVID MAXWELL / EPA

Mike Pence chastised President Obama on Friday for indirectly referring to Donald Trump as a demagogue, saying — perhaps ironically — that "name calling" has no "place in public life."

Pence, responding directly to the president’s comments about Trump at the Democratic convention on Wednesday, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: “I don’t think name calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the president of the United States would use a term like that.”

Pence’s remarks backed up against his own running mate’s use of derogative nicknames over the last year on the campaign, including: "Little Michael Bloomberg", "Crooked Hillary" [Clinton], "Corrupt [Tim] Kaine", "Liddle Marco [Rubio]", "Lyin’ Ted" [Cruz], "Crazy Bernie" [Sanders], "Goofy" [Elizabeth Warren] and "Low Energy Jeb" [Bush].

The president took a swipe at the Republican nominee in his primetime convention address on Wednesday but didn’t attach the “demagogue” characterization directly to Trump.

“Anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end,” Obama said.

Pence, who vowed early in his career to not run campaigns fueled by personal attacks, has yet to take hold of Trump-created nicknames for his own use on the campaign trail.

Trump, in a tandem joint "60 Minutes" interview after the selection of Pence, gave his vice presidential pick a pass, saying, “I call her ‘Crooked Hillary.’ She's crooked Hillary. He won't. I don't -- I didn't ask him to do it, but I don't think he should do it because it's different for him.”

Yet to reporters on July 7 at a local Indiana county fair, Pence, when asked by NBC whether he empathized with Cruz and his supporters after Trump’s personal attacks against the former Trump rival, demurred, calling it the realities of a “competitive primary.”

“You know, in NASCAR, they say rubbing is racing,” Pence said at the time. “[In a] competitive primary, things can get a little tough sometimes.”