Pence, in Iowa, touts manufacturing job creation and predicts justice confirmation

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at an event sponsored by The Family Leader in Des Moines on Oct,. 1, 2020. (Screen shot from event livestream)

Vice President Mike Pence, campaigning in Iowa on Thursday just days before the start of early voting, contrasted the Trump administration’s record on job creation with that of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“You know, when Joe Biden was vice president, America actually lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs,” Pence said. He credited President Trump with creating 500,000 manufacturing jobs during his first three years in office.

“And I want to promise you, you have a president who is a champion for the American people who make things we’re going to fight to make manufacturing bigger and better than ever before in the next four years,” Pence said.

In Carter Lake, Pence spoke to a campaign crowd of about 275 at PVS Structures, a subsidiary of Owen Industries Inc., which builds galvanized metal parts for bridges, among other products.  His visit comes as Trump and Biden are neck-and-neck in the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, which showed them tied at 47% in mid-September.

Pence cited slightly more accurate job creation figures than Trump himself used in this week’s presidential debate. Trump took overblown credit for creating 700,000 manufacturing jobs and said, falsely, that former President Obama and former Vice President Biden “created nothing.”

Pence, by focusing on the 450,000 manufacturing jobs added during the first three years of the Trump administration, leaves out the job-killing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while manufacturing employment fell by 192,000 jobs during Obama’s entire tenure in the White House, according to Politifact, the manufacturing sector added 916,000 jobs from the low point of the recession in 2010 through the remaining seven years of  Obama’s time in office.

Pence also touted the speed of the country’s economic recovery.  “Having lost 22 million jobs at the height of this pandemic, I’m proud to report to you, with the jobs report just around the corner tomorrow, that as of today, 10.6 million Americans have already gone back to work, including 97,000 people right here in the Hawkeye State,” Pence said. “We’ve got a great American comeback underway.”

Mark Smith, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, cited the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in Iowa.

“As always, Vice President Pence’s visit to Iowa today is void of solutions for the tens of thousands of Iowans suffering as a direct result of the Trump administration’s failure. COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise at an alarming rate across our state and nearly 60,000 Iowans are still unemployed, yet Trump and Pence have no plan whatsoever to get our country back on track,” Smith said in a statement.

New applications for jobless benefits had declined in a state report released Thursday but the number of Iowans hospitalized with the virus is climbing to near-record levels.

During Thursday’s event, Pence also touted President Trump’s choice of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.

“As a nation, we paused to honor the life of service of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When the memorials were over, President Donald Trump did his duty under the Constitution of the United States. And last Saturday, he nominated a principled conservative woman of extraordinary character and extraordinary intellect, who reveres the Constitution, to the Supreme Court of the United States.” Pence said, to cheers and applause from the audience.

He predicted Barrett would be confirmed. “As members of the Senate in the Republican Party, and I believe and hope, members in the Democratic Party, see her character, understand her intellect, see her deep commitment to the Constitution of the United States of America — after they provide advice and consent, I believe that Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We’re going to fill that seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Pence appeared in Des Moines later Thursday afternoon at an event sponsored by a religious conservative organization, The Family Leader. Although the organization emphasized that it was not a campaign event, Pence delivered an almost identical stump speech, tailored for the evangelical audience with expanded remarks on abortion, religious freedom, Middle East policy, his personal faith journey and prayer.