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Indiana delegation says Gov. Mike Pence’s speech ‘saved the night’ at GOP convention

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Indiana Gov. Mike Pence officially accepted the Republican party nomination as vice president Wednesday evening before delegates at the Republican National Convention.

“I’m new to this campaign, and honestly I never thought I’d be standing here,” Pence said. “I thought I’d be spending this evening with my friends in the Indiana delegation.”

Pence checked off a number of key moments in the speech, first introducing himself to a national audience, attacking Hillary Clinton and making the case for party unity by backing Donald J. Trump, who will officially accept the nomination Thursday.

“In the end, this election comes down to just two names on a ballot. So, let’s resolve here and now that Hillary Clinton will never become President of the United States of America,” Pence said.

The governor was poised to position the ticket to a broad audience, symbolically painting what he calls a clear choice in November.

“Now, the establishment in Washington, DC, thinks it’s only a narrow range of voters who are giving Donald Trump a serious look,” he said.  “But I can tell you firsthand, there’s a lot of Americans out there who feel like Democrat politicians have taken them for granted. It’s union members, who don’t want a president who promises ‘to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.’ They want American energy and they know Donald Trump digs coal.”

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said the speech saved the night after one-time presidential candidate Ted Cruz was booed off the stage since he didn't endorse Trump during his prime-time speech. Cruz told supporters to vote their conscience and not to stay home in November.

Indiana’s 57 delegates stood proud, some with tears in their eyes, as Pence spoke before a national audience, while acknowledging his fellow Hoosiers.

Trump came onstage as Pence finished speaking.  Trump and Pence shook hands and stood together briefly onstage before Trump exited.

Pence took a moment onstage with his family to smile at the audience before exiting.

Watch their reaction live on CBS4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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