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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence To Make GOP Convention Debut


Donald Trump staged a dramatic arrival today not far from the convention site.


SIEGEL: His helicopter touched down alongside Lake Erie where he was met by his new running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Pence gets a primetime platform tonight when he'll speak to delegates and accept the vice presidential nomination.

We'll also hear from some of the other GOP presidential contenders whom Trump bested to arrive at this moment. NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And Scott, tell us about - first about the spectacle of Donald Trump's arrival this afternoon.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, Robert, spectacle is the right word. Donald Trump glided over Lake Erie in his 757 and landed at a lakefront airport. For a lot of candidates, that would have been enough but not for Donald Trump. He then climbed into the Trump helicopter for a couple of scenic laps around the lakefront area where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located before landing in front of a bank of TV cameras at the Great Lakes Science Center where vice presidential nominee Mike Pence was waiting to greet him.


MIKE PENCE: It is such an honor to join your family to welcome you to Cleveland. We're excited to hear you address the nation tomorrow night. It's been exciting to hear from your family more to come tonight. And I'm convinced what begins in Cleveland will end in the White House.

SIEGEL: And that's not a familiar voice to most of us. Pence is less well-known than some of the other finalists for the vice presidential slot - Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich. Scott, what do you think made Trump pick him?

HORSLEY: Well, Trump's son Donald Jr. was asked about that this morning at a breakfast put on by The Wall Street Journal, and he described Pence as a calming choice, sort of a counterbalance to Trump himself. The way Don Jr. phrased it was, we don't need two Donald Trumps out there competing to be Donald Trump. And maybe Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie would've had some of that competitive factor.

Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, added that pence can fulfill the criteria Trump himself set out, which is experience, the ability to be president on day one and someone who could help Trump do the job.

SIEGEL: Well, what's the personal chemistry like between Trump and Pence? Do we know?

HORSLEY: I think that's still sort of evolving. We're very much in the early stages. Donald Trump Jr. described Pence as new to us, and so they're still getting acquainted. They did play a round of golf together. They had breakfast at Pence's home in Indiana before the pick was announced. Manafort says they will be spending more time together in the weeks and months to come, and he says despite their outward differences, the two men see eye to eye on the big things.

PAUL MANAFORT: There was a commonality. They're both family men. They both put family very high. They may have different personalities, but they have similar visions, and they have similar goals. And what he liked about Governor Pence was Governor Pence was the kind of guy who didn't see no for an answer, that he went and became governor, and he made a difference as governor.

HORSLEY: Not taking no for an answer is something that admirers say about Donald Trump as well.

SIEGEL: Now, in addition to hearing from Mike Pence tonight, we're going to hear from some of the runners up in the GOP contest - Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz. What do you expect from them?

HORSLEY: Well, the most dramatic of those is going to be Cruz, who is sort of the last man standing against Trump. He has yet to formally endorse Trump, although during an event with supporters this afternoon, Cruz did make sort of an appeal for party unity, saying, we have a nominee. And just as he said that, Robert, Trump's airplane flew overhead.


TED CRUZ: That was pretty well orchestrated. Did you email them to fly the plane right when I said that?

HORSLEY: What you don't hear in that tape, Robert, is that as the plane went by, a lot of Cruz's supporters were booing, so they're already looking ahead to 2020.

SIEGEL: At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I'm joined by NPR's Scott Horsley. Scott, thanks.

HORSLEY: Great to be with you, Robert. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.