Rossford, OHIO -- Mike Pence ignored questions from reporters Friday evening about leaked video in which Donald Trump is heard making very sexually explicit comments about women.
“Governor, how can you ignore this question?” asked ABC producer Ines De La Cuetara -- as Pence ignored her question and multiple questions in the same vein from other reporters.
Hours before, when the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, Pence was dropping by a Toledo restaurant, and pool reporters accompanying Pence were suddenly ushered out of the restaurant, depriving them of the ability to throw Pence a question -- although a campaign aide chalked it up to coincidence.
Roughly an hour later, the Indiana governor was striking a defiant tone at his Rossford rally. He proceeded with his usual stump speech including lines declaring Trump was a “winner” and standing “stronger than ever.”
Pence lashed out at the media. “Invariably, they’ll say, this time we got him. This time we found that there’s another tweet come out or something,” Pence said. “This time we got another thing, another issue that’s come forward. Then they turn on the next television the next morning, and Donald Trump is still standing stronger than ever before and fighting for the American people. And he is going to fight all the way to the White House.”
But that fight to the White House clearly faced a setback Friday with the release of the video. Among the lewd comments on the 2005 tape -- unearthed from an “Access Hollywood” interview with Billy Bush -- Trump is heard saying, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you are star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.” Trump later issued a statement calling his words “locker room banter” and apologized, “if anyone was offended.”
In spite of Pence’s defiant rhetoric Friday, The Associated Press quoted a person “familiar with the thinking” of Pence and his wife as saying the vice presidential candidate was “beside himself” when he heard the remarks, and his wife was furious. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to share the private discussion. CBS News could not independently verify the remarks characterizing Pence’s reaction.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday morning that there was “zero chance” of him dropping out of the race over the scandal.
While Trump campaign was dealing with leaked audio, Hillary Clinton’s campaign faced fallout from what purported to be. The campaign refused to confirm the authenticity of the emails, however. “We are not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange who has made no secret of his desire to damage Hillary Clinton,” Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin said in a statement.
And before that on Friday, the Director of National Intelligence.
Those accusations from the intelligence community didn’t stop Pence from pointing to the leaked Clinton emails, telling the audience, “Wikileaks released a whole new batch of emails today for your weekend enjoyment.”