Congressman Mike Pence responded to a letter from a group of Tea Party and gay rights activists saying the Republican party should focus on fiscal issues instead of social ones by saying the two go hand-in-hand.
“People are always saying, ‘should it be spending or social issues?’ How about both?” Pence told ABC News.
“How about, let’s deny all federal funding to Planned Parenthood of America? That would save $350 million right off the top,” he said of his bill that would deny Title X money to organizations that do abortions.
He added: “I have to tell you as I travel around the country, the American people — millions of Americans, more every day — are offended that the largest abortion provider in America is also the largest recipient of federal funding under Title 10.”
The letter came from gay group GOProud’s chairman Christopher Barron, libertarian host Tammy Bruce, bloggers Bruce Carroll, Dan Blatt and Doug Welch and Tea party activists unrelated to the gay rights group including Ralph King, who is a Tea Party Patriots national leadership council member and a co-coordinator of its Ohio group.
“On behalf of limited-government conservatives everywhere, we write to urge you and your colleagues in Washington to put forward a legislative agenda in the next Congress that reflects the principles of the Tea Party movement,” the letter says. “This election was not a mandate for the Republican Party, nor was it a mandate to act on any social issue.”
Meanwhile, the pro-life leader said he will make a decision sometime in early 2011 about a potential run either for the Republican nomination for president or a gubernatorial bid in Indiana. Pence recently left his position as conference chairman in the House Republican caucus because he said it was unfair to House Republicans to split his time between the leadership post and a potential run for higher office.
“Our decision is going to be wholly dependent on taking the time to prayerfully consider where we can make the most difference on the conservative values that brought us to Washington to begin with,” he told ABC. “So really our decision is a really personal decision. It’s about where we feel a call to serve. We’ll make that decision, I really believe with all my heart, not as a reflection of who else is running, but what we feel a call to do.”
Pence also told ABC News he really likes Sarah Palin and any decision she makes won’t impact on his, which would come “early next year.”
“But with regards to Sarah Palin — she’s a force of nature. I just can’t help it — I just love her. I just think she’s got a bold and courageous voice for conservative values. She doesn’t apologize and I like her style,” he said.