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Mike Pence speaks to the Faith & Freedom Coalition convention in Kissimmee, Fla., last week. Photo: Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Former Vice President Pence, in a significant speech at the Reagan Library in California last evening, declared that the Constitution "affords the vice president no authority to reject or return electoral votes submitted to the Congress by the states."

Driving the news: "I understand the disappointment many feel about the last election," Pence said. "I can even relate. Remember, I lost reelection too. But there's more at stake than our party or our political fortunes."

  • "Truth is, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president."

Why it matters: This is Pence directly addressing — even leaning into — what he did on Jan. 6 in the context of a speech about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

  • Pence is attaching his actions on Jan. 6 to his vision of the future of the party — drawing a clear line between his vision and former President Trump's.

"If we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections — we’ll lose our country," Pence said at the library's "A Time for Choosing" series.

  • "Now more than ever, America needs the Republican Party to be the party of the Constitution."

Watch via C-SPAN.

Go deeper

GOP Rep. Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced his retirement on Thursday, declining to run against a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2022.

Why it matters: Gonzalez has suffered politically since siding with House Democrats to impeach the 45th president after the Capitol riot.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.