ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2012, delivered a sharp-tongued critique of the American presidency on Friday, saying that the office had become “symbolic of overreaching.”
In a speech in Washington, DC at the annual conference of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization, Pence used the remarks of two top Obama administration officials to suggest that the president’s team had been complicit in that overreach.
He cited Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett’s November 2008 statement that “It’s important that President-Elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one” and the more recent comments of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser Elizabeth Warren, who said: “President Obama understands the importance of leveling the playing field.”
“Take power, rule, leveling,” Pence said. “Though these are the terms of the day, this has never been and should never again be the model of the presidency or the character of the American president.”
He added, “No one can say this too strongly, and no one can say it enough until it is remedied. We are not subjects. We are citizens.”
Jarrett used the word “rule” in passing in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” shortly after Obama was elected president and Warren’s full quote in a Sept. 17 White House blog post notes that the president wanted to “level the playing field again for families" and create consumer "protections that work not just for the wealthy or connected, but for every American.”
Pence’s speech amounted to a series of presidential guiding rooted strongly in the Constitution.
“The president should regard the Constitution and the Declaration like an obsessed lover,” Pence said. “They should be on his mind all the time.”
The Indiana Republican fit in several more jabs at Obama, including a reference to an incident in November 2009 when the president bowed to Japanese Emperor Akihito during a visit to Tokyo.
“You do not bow to kings. Outside our shores, the President of the United States of America bows to no man,” Pence said. “When in foreign lands, you do not criticize your own country. You do not argue the case against the United States, but the case for it. You do not apologize to the enemies of the United States.”
His comments are not new — Pence delivered a similar speech in September at Hillsdale College in Michigan — but they do offer window on how the outgoing chairman of the House Republican Conference, who is considering a presidential run, views the nation’s highest office.
Pence told ABC News on Thursday that he would make up his mind about his next political move “sometime early next year.”
“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 said.