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Mike Pence Cashes In as He Waits

Big-money speech offers roll in for 2024 presidential possibility
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2021 11:30 AM CDT
Pence Profits While Setting Up for 2024 Race
Former Vice President Mike Pence rides on horseback with members of BraveHearts, an equestrian therapy group for military veterans, through Fort Wayne, Indiana, earlier this month.   (Mike Moore/The Journal Gazette via AP)

(Newser) – "He's a person who sees himself as the president," said a friend about Mike Pence. The former vice president is working on that, setting up a C4 nonprofit that's raising money, making enough appearances to stay in the news, writing books, and giving speeches around the country, Vanity Fair reports. And Pence is polling well as he sets himself up for a 2024 run for the Republican nomination. "In the meantime," the friend said, "he's making real money for the first time in his life. Running for president is also a great way of making six-figure speeches."

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Mike and Karen Pence now live in a $2 million house in an Indianapolis suburb. Life among gated mansions is new to them. They lost money on investments and when a family oil company went under. For a time, he paid his mortgage, credit card bill, and other living expenses with campaign donations. That wasn't illegal in 1990, per the Washington Post, but it was still the end of that congressional race. Some wonder why Pence would complicate his life with politics now instead of just concentrating on making money, perhaps taking a high-profile and lucrative job.

"Pence is doing all this penny-ante stuff," one veteran politician said. "At what point does he go and say, 'I need to be the president of Liberty University, or take over Rush Limbaugh’s time slot, or take over the Heritage Foundation?'" But the friend calls Pence "incredibly ambitious" and thinks he might have a shot. "You should not underestimate Pence—he has broad support among the big donors and in Congress, beyond just evangelicals," the friend said. Polls have found Pence to be the favorite among Republicans who don't want former President Donald Trump to run again, per Vanity Fair.

Mostly, Pence has avoided Trump publicly, never appearing with him, though aides for both said they still talk on the phone. Pence agreed to be the headliner at a donor event only once Trump declined, for example. But he's not distancing himself completely from his former boss. Despite the fact that aides say Pence is still angry at Trump for the danger he was in on Jan. 6, he's played down the Capitol attack. For now, Pence's activities are complementary. "There’s no question the presidential race is driving his speaking fees," said a GOP strategist, who asked, "Why else would someone be paying him $100k to come speak?" (Read more Mike Pence stories.)

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