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Vice President Mike Pence on Friday warned those attending the Conservative Political Action Conference that Democrats are embracing socialism, “the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the past century.”

“You know, America was founded on a simple idea, and that idea is freedom,” he said. “But over my lifetime, the support for liberty, a strong national defense, free enterprise, inalienable rights, has principally fallen to our party and to this movement.

But today, he said, Democrats “openly advocate an economic system that has impoverished millions of people around the world.”

“Under the guise of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the past century. That system is socialism,” he said.

“Remarkably, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination is an avowed socialist. But it’s not just him. Bernie [Sanders] has been joined by a chorus of candidates and newly elected officials who have papered over the failed policies of socialism with bumper-sticker slogans and slick social-media campaigns.”

Those ideas, he said, more taxes, spending and government, and less freedom.

“It was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the most prosperous economy in the history of the world,” he said. “It was freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won two world wars, and stands today as the beacon of hope for all the world.

“It was freedom, not socialism, that’s moving us beyond the prejudices of the past to create a more perfect union and extend the blessings of liberty to every American regardless of race or creed or color. It was freedom.

“And it was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the highest quality of life, the cleanest environment on Earth, and improved the health and well-being of millions around the world. It was freedom.”

He said Republicans “want people to make poor people richer; they want to make rich people poorer.”

“We want to make poverty more rare; they want to make poverty more comfortable. And that’s the choice we face today, men and women, between freedom and socialism, between personal responsibility and government dependence. Where freedom encourages investment, socialism stifles growth. Where freedom welcomes diversity, socialism demands conformity.”

He said those who promote socialism should look at Venezuela.

“Venezuela was once one of the richest and most vibrant democracies in the Western Hemisphere, but under [Nicolas] Maduro’s socialist rule, it’s become one of the poorest and most despotic,” he said. “Today, more than 9 out of 10 people live in poverty in that once-rich country. More than 3 million Venezuelans have abandoned their homes and fled the brutality of the Maduro regime.”

See Pence’s address:

Pence also touted the nation’s economic growth under President Trump.

“We’ve forged new trade deals that finally put American jobs and American workers first. And with the support of this generation of conservatives, President Trump signed the largest tax cut and tax reform in American history. … As I stand before you today, the American economy is booming. In just over two years, businesses large and small have created 5.3 million new jobs, including over 480,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs that the other side said would never come back. Unemployment has hit a 50-year low. And more Americans are working today than ever before in the history of this country. The unemployment rate for women has hit a 55-year low.”

He also noted the president’s efforts to stabilize and modernize a military besieged by years of neglect and the creation of the United States Space Force.

He also pointed to Trump’s fight for a border wall, which Democrats in Congress have rejected as “immoral.”

“You know, as the president has said many times: If you don’t have a border, you don’t have a country. And since day one of our administration, we’ve been working to remove dangerous criminals from our streets in record numbers, enforcing our immigration laws, and working to secure our border. And we’ve already started to build that wall,” Pence said.

He called on members of Congress to “[s]tand up for border security, stop playing politics with the security of the American people, and stand with President Trump for a stronger and safer America.”

Trump also has appointed judges who will uphold the Constitution, “like the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

And they protect the sanctity of human life, he said.

“With Democrats standing for late-term abortion, infanticide, and a culture of death, I promise you this president, this party, and this movement will always stand for the unborn. We will always defend the unalienable right to life,” he promised.

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