- Associated Press - Monday, August 22, 2016

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence on Monday told a crowd in eastern Iowa that Hillary Clinton must shut down her charitable foundation immediately, doubling down on a new public push by his running mate, Donald Trump.

Pence told a crowd at a manufacturing facility in Cedar Rapids that a recent pledge by the Clinton Foundation to stop accepting contributions from foreign governments and corporations if Clinton is elected president is not enough. He argued the foundation accepted such donations while Clinton served as secretary of state, and he said that has created a longtime conflict of interest that involved political favors.

“It’s time for Hillary Clinton to come clean about the Clinton Foundation,” Pence said to applause from an audience at Modern Companies Inc., which cuts metal and other materials.

Trump issued a similar call earlier in the day through social media, saying in a statement the Clinton Foundation is “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”

Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, defended the foundation following Trump’s remarks. The former president pointed out the foundation has helped millions of people in more than 70 countries gain access to HIV drugs at a much lower cost. He also said millions of American students have healthier food and more physical education options. He highlighted charitable work in Haiti, Latin America and East Africa.



Pence called Hillary Clinton’s actions involving the foundation “pay-to-play politics.”

The crowd of several dozen people was more subdued than some previous audiences at Trump events, which are often interrupted or feature visible protests. Attendees on Monday stuck with waving distributed signs from the campaign and cheering while Pence delivered previous talking points for improving the economy.

Vera Ostrander, 61, of nearby Iowa City, came to the event with her husband. It marked the couple’s first time seeing Pence speak.

“He seems very genuine,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about … between Trump and Pence we have a good match. I think they’re working for the people.”

Some voters had hoped to hear a little more detail from Pence. Owen Sherman, a 20-year-old college sophomore from Solon, asked the governor what his role would be if he’s elected vice president. Pence responded with, “Whatever the president wants it to be.”

“I wasn’t sure if (Pence) had things set out … focus more on foreign policy because he has a lot of experience there,” said Sherman, who’s preparing to vote for the first time. “It’s still a long ways away so they still have time to figure things out.”

The Indiana governor has made several stops in Iowa since securing the GOP nomination for vice president in July. They include speeches in Sioux City and Council Bluffs and a stop at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

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