President Obama addressed House GOP leaders at a retreat in Baltimore Friday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) - President Obama and House GOP leaders promised greater efforts to step back from the partisan brink Friday, acknowledging that Washington's toxic political climate has made it increasingly tough to tackle major problems.
The pledge was immediately called into question, however, as the two parties repeatedly expressed sharply differing viewpoints during a rare meeting at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore.
Obama accepted an invitation from House GOP leaders to address their caucus. His speech Friday was followed by an often testy question-and-answer session.
"House Republican leaders are grateful for [Obama's] willingness to come ... and have a frank and honest conversation," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana. "We welcome the dialogue with the president."
The president accused Republicans of frequently mischaracterizing his policy proposals, particularly in the health care debate.
(CNN) – Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, told supporters Tuesday he will not challenge Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, in November and instead will run for re-election of his House seat.
Pence, who serves as chairman of the House Republican Conference, made the announcement in a letter that was posted to his Facebook page.
"After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the House and to seek reelection to the 6th Congressional District in 2010," Pence wrote in the letter. "I am staying for two reasons. First because I have been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010."
National Republicans were hoping that Pence would make the race because they saw him as the strongest candidate to challenge Bayh this year. Pence has a national following within the conservative movement and would likely have been able to raise enough money to compete with Bayh, who was first elected in 1998.
Asked by reporters about his reaction to the Pence decision, Bayh admittedly gave what he called a "non-answer."
"We have a very good relationship and I wish him well in his good service in the House of Representatives," said Bayh.
Full text of letter after the jump:
Washington (CNN) – In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's surprising win in this week's Senate special election in Massachusetts, the anti-tax Club for Growth is publicly urging Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, to challenge Sen. Evan Bayh this fall.
Pence is a hero to small-government conservatives who has beefed up his political operation in recent months along with making travels to states like Iowa and South Carolina, sparking talk that he is eyeing a White House run in 2012. Pence has also been mentioned as a potential successor to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels after Daniels' second term expires in 2013.
But the Club for Growth wants Pence to jump in the Senate race instead. Chris Chocola, the Club's president, said in a statement Thursday that Brown's win in Massachusetts "confirms that Indiana is a winnable race for a principled advocate of economic freedom and limited government."
"Mike Pence can beat Evan Bayh in November, and I join pro-growth conservatives in Indiana and around the country in hoping that he does," Chocola said.
On Wednesday, Pence confidante Tony Perkins - the president of the conservative Family Research Council - suggested to CNN that Pence isn't likely to run against Bayh. "I think he is positioned to move, but I just don't know if the Senate is where he will be," Perkins said.
Washington (CNN) – One of Indiana Rep. Mike Pence's political confidantes is downplaying speculation that the Republican congressman will challenge Sen. Evan Bayh this November.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council who speaks with Pence frequently, said the Republican "has many options before him," but doubted that a Senate bid is one of them.
"I think he is doing well where he is, and I think he is positioned to move, but I just don't know if the Senate is where will be," Perkins said in a phone interview with CNN. Pointing to his extensive political travels and efforts to elect conservatives, Perkins said Pence "is not just a congressman from Indiana."
Asked if he is "positioned to move" towards a White House run, Perkins said it's a possibility. "He has potential to reach that at some point, but I don't think he is in a hurry," he said. "I wouldn't see him making hard and fast decisions until this fall's elections, to see how things go."
Washington (CNN) – Add one more name to the growing list of potential 2012 presidential contenders attending the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April: Mike Pence.
An aide to the Indiana Republican confirmed the speaking appearance.
Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, has a serious following among fiscal conservatives and has already made trips to the early proving grounds of Iowa and South Carolina.
By delivering remarks to the SRLC - a major gathering of Republican officials and activists from 14 southern states, held this year in New Orleans - Pence is signaling that he intends to remain part of the early presidential chatter. The event is held every two to four years and usually conducts a presidential straw poll.
Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are all making appearances at the event, but Mitt Romney is not. Mike Huckabee has not yet said if he will attend.
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Mike Pence, chair of the House Republican Conference, said Tuesday that President Obama had accepted an invitation to address GOP members of Congress at the group's retreat later this month.
"House Republicans are grateful that the President of the United States has accepted our invitation to meet with the Republican Conference later this month," Pence said in a statement released by his office. "House Republicans look forward to presenting the president with our proposals to protect our nation, create jobs, control federal spending, lower the cost of health care, achieve energy independence and strengthen families."
The House Republican Conference is slated to meet in Baltimore Jan. 28-30.
Washington (CNN) - In the GOP's Thanksgiving Day message, Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence laid out the party's prescription for economic growth, and slammed the Obama administration's approach.
"[W]hile empty chairs for America's defenders were placed at Thanksgiving dinner tables in many homes, many other seats were filled with anxious Americans who are facing their own personal battles and struggles," Pence says in the latest weekly GOP radio and Web address. "Millions of families have seen jobs and careers vanish in the midst of this recession.
"Many are asking, 'when will things get better?' Many more are asking, 'where are the jobs?'
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Indiana Rep. Mike Pence has given high-profile speeches to conservative groups and journeyed to the presidential primary states of Iowa and South Carolina, travels that have generated chatter among Republican insiders that he might seek the presidency in 2012.
Now Pence is heading back to South Carolina once again, this time to raise money next Monday for his fellow congressman Gresham Barrett, who is leaving his seat in the House to run for governor. Pence has also lined up a meeting with the Charleston County Republican Party executive committee, a visit that was initiated by the congressman.
"He was coming down here for Gresham, and as a result of being here he called and offered if he could stop by and say hi," Charleston County GOP chairwoman Lin Bennett told CNN. Asked if she thought the appointment means Pence is putting feelers out for possible White House bid, Bennett said, "It does, but that's okay."
"That kind of thing usually starts to happen this time," she said, describing past meetings with possible presidential contenders. "I just hope it doesn't happen as early this time as it did during the last cycle."
Pence made an earlier trip to South Carolina in May 2008 to headline the state GOP's annual "Silver Elephant Dinner," which offered the congressman a chance to meet some of the state's top Republican players. Another Palmetto State connection: Pence's direct mail firm is Lexington-based Starboard Communications, which is headed up by Walter Whetsell, one of the state's top political consultants.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Rep. Mike Pence, criticizing President Obama for not saying more in support of protestors in Iran, said Wednesday that he is taking another step to show solidarity for the dissenting citizens of the country.
"I appreciate the fact that the president said the protesters have a right to be heard and represented, and I appreciate the fact that he said he is troubled," Pence said in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room. "But I respectfully disagree with the administration's decision to essentially draw the line at not meddling and not interfering."
Pence, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a resolution in the House that he said would "speak a word of support for the people of Iran." He said he didn't think the United States should endorse the opposition candidate, but should instead show support for the protesters who are "risking their lives for free and fair elections."
Pence said showing support could lead to a "fresh start" with the citizens of Iran.
"I really believe we may have an opportunity for a fresh start here, not with the tyrants in Tehran, not with Ahmadinejad, who even looks at what this administration is doing and accuses them of meddling," Pence said. "But rather with the good and decent and courageous people of Iran who are stepping forward and risking their liberty and their lives for principles that we as Americans cherish."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – On the same day that Vice President Biden said he had doubts about the validity of the Iranian election results, Indianan Republican Rep. Mike Pence urged President Obama to speak out in favor of the forces of reform in the Middle Eastern country.
“First and foremost, we need to take a half step back from this administration’s olive branch-and-apology approach to enemies and countries that have been hostile to the United States of America and our allies,” Pence said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“I’m hoping, before the end of the day today, the President of the United States will speak a word of support for Mr. Moussavi and for the dissidents and the reformers within Iran,” said Pence, referring to the defeated challenger to incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
And moving on to another issue in the news, Pence criticized the desire of some Democrats to include a public insurance option in the health care reform bill Congress will soon begin work on.
“I keep hearing the word ‘competition’,” Pence told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “The government competes in the private sector the way an alligator competes with a duck,” said Pence.