“I’m Mike Pence, I’m from Indiana, and it’s my high honor to run and serve as the next vice president of America,” he said.
Those who could get into the small viewing room greeted Pence with cheers — and the energy level didn’t drop for the rest of the event.
A security guard on the scene said event organizers did not anticipate crowds of this size and the space allotted at the Hilton was not big enough for all attendees, so many people were turned away.
In his speech, Pence praised his running mate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, as the man America needs as its next president.
“You have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down: he is a fighter, he is a winner, he embodies the spirit of this country,” he said.
Pence said Trump is strong, freedom-loving, optimistic and willing to serve the American people.
Aaron Aiken, a 20-year-old who attended the event, said the Trump campaign’s spirit of freedom and strength — which was emphasized throughout Pence’s appearance — is a reason he supports Trump.
“He’s straight to the point — I think that’s what makes a strong leader, and I think that that’s what America needs right now is a strong leader,” Aiken said.
Jake Chasan, a Duke student who also attended the event, said Pence is a positive running mate for Trump and possesses a steadiness that the Republican ticket needs.
In his speech, Pence glossed over Trump’s recent comments about women and instead took the opportunity to praise his running mate’s performance at Sunday’s debate.
“He’s a fighter,” he said. “You all saw that in the debate that he won — hands down.”
Pence also used the speech to attack Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and emphasize the importance of this election for seats on the Supreme Court.
He said voting in this election is crucial and made it clear that North Carolina is a close and important swing state.
“North Carolina, I gotta tell ya, you might not be the only state that holds the keys to this election and the direction of America,” Pence said. “But you sure are on a short list of states.”
He also discussed faith.
“I’m a Christian, I’m a conservative and I’m a Republican — in that order,” Pence said.
He said faith had played a large role in uniting his family, and he said that same faith will play a large role in uniting a divided United States.
At the end of his speech, Pence stressed the inclusivity of the Trump campaign, which he said is often overlooked.
“For every American, regardless of race, or creed, or color, or gender, or area code, or income,” he said. “We are going to fight to bring back the American Dream for this generation and the next.”