Mike Pence calls Vivek Ramaswamy ‘rookie’: ‘Not the time for on-the-job training,’ says former US vice president

Republican presidential candidates (L-R), former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence shakes hands with Vivek Ramaswamy during the first debate of the GOP primary season hosted by FOX News at the Fiserv Forum on August 23, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP) (WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old technology entrepreneur, emerged as an unexpected presence at the Republican National Committee Debate in Milwaukee. He positioned himself alongside established figures like former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Ramaswamy’s sudden rise in recent polls led to his prominent position on the stage, seated next to Governor DeSantis. As the debate unfolded, Ramaswamy wasted no time in showcasing his polished demeanour and messaging. He highlighted his personal story of immigrant parents and his success as a tech entrepreneur, boasting the ability to found billion-dollar companies.

However, Ramaswamy’s attempt to differentiate himself from his opponents took an assertive turn. He strategically positioned himself as the outsider, claiming to be the sole candidate not influenced by vested interests. In a sharp verbal exchange, he labelled his competitors as “super PAC puppets” who relied on rehearsed slogans to undermine his campaign.

Vivek Ramaswamy vs Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence, a heavyweight in the Republican sphere, countered Ramaswamy’s outsider stance by leveraging his extensive political background. Pence emphasised his vast experience as vice president, congressman, and governor. He asserted his readiness for the role and presented himself as the most qualified conservative contender in the race.

“Now is not the time for on-the-job training,” Pence said taking a jibe at relatively-inexperienced Ramaswamy. “We don’t need to bring in a rookie.”

“I think I am unquestionably the best prepared, the most tested, the most qualified and proven conservative in this race,” he added.

“Vivek recently said, ‘A president can’t do everything.’ Well, I’ve got news for you, Vivek. I’ve been in the hallway and the West Wing. A president of the United States has to confront every crisis facing America,” Pence said.

Pence defends Donald Trump’s policies

Pence also defended the policies of the Donald Trump administration, drawing on his track record in various governmental roles. He outlined his commitment to restoring economic growth and fiscal responsibility, asserting his capability to navigate multiple challenges facing the nation.

“I will put our nation back on the path to growth and prosperity and restore fiscal responsibility. Just as I did in Congress and as governor and when I was vice president,” Pence said.

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Updated: 24 Aug 2023, 09:01 AM IST

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