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10 revealing tidbits about Mike and Karen Pence in new book on vice presidents

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Gov. Mike Pence and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump met at the governor's residence on April 20, 2016. Gov. Mike Pence and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump met at the governor's residence on April 20, 2016.
"First in Line" by Kate Andersen Brower. "First in Line" by Kate Andersen Brower.
Vice President Mike Pence helps wife, Karen, down the steps of the front porch of the vice presidential residence at the U.S Naval Observatory before heading to the inaugural balls  in Washington, D.C., with their children on Jan. 20, 2017. Vice President Mike Pence helps wife, Karen, down the steps of the front porch of the vice presidential residence at the U.S Naval Observatory before heading to the inaugural balls in Washington, D.C., with their children on Jan. 20, 2017.

WASHINGTON - A new book on vice presidents describes Mike Pence's approach to serving as Donald Trump's No. 2, including new details on his selection and the role faith and his wife have played in his political career.

Here are 10 tidbits from First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents, and the Pursuit of Power, by journalist Kate Andersen Brower.

1. Who reached out to Pence to gauge his interest in becoming VP?

Trump used businessman and past business partner Steve Hilbert to test Pence's interest in joining the ticket. Trump had already been rebuffed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker when Hilbert texted Pence in June 2016 to ask if he was willing to be considered. When the Pences personally served breakfast to the Trumps at the governor's residence after a Trump rally in Indiana in July, the Trumps were mesmerized by their normalcy. "I can't convey to you how powerful that was,' Jim Atterholt, who was Pence's chief of staff, is quoted saying. "The humility they showed, they were just fascinated by them.'

2. Faithfulness has its rewards

When Pence called his brother, Greg, to tell him Donald Trump had asked him to be his running mate, both brothers cried. "Well done, my good and faithful servant," his brother said. Pence has long advocated, and tried to follow, a "servant leadership" model of public service that's rooted in the Bible.

3. What he thinks of Trump's tweets

Pence may be more supportive of Trump's tweets than most people suspect, Brower writes. As an example, she says that Pence's reaction to a particularly vicious tweet about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was, if McConnell would do what the administration wants, there wouldn't be any tweets.

4. What he thinks of alcohol

Karen Pence shared earlier this year that her husband's menu of choice on Friday night is pizza washed down with a nonalcoholic O'Doul's. Brower's book explains that Pence stopped drinking after being elected to Congress in 2000. The reasons was "to have his wits about him' in case something happened, according to Atterholt.

5. The 'Pence rule'

Pence also decided after being elected to office that he wouldn't eat alone with a woman other than his wife. Christy Denault, who was Pence's gubernatorial communications director, said Pence wanted to protect himself from any suggestions of an affair. As governor, he would not have a closed-door meeting with a woman unless another person was present - although he would occasionally go into Denault's glass walled office for a private conversation.

6. Pence's red phone

The red phone Karen Pence gave her husband for Christmas years ago that used to sit on his congressional and gubernatorial desks is now in their private residence. Karen was the only one who could call her husband on that phone and "when that phone rings, everything stops,' Indiana GOP spokesman Pete Seat is quoted as saying in the book. But if the phone sat on the vice president's desk, "it could be a source of embarrassment for a man who some say relies too much on his wife,' Brower writes.

7. Stephanopoulos interview

Pence and his staff had reached a consensus not to sit for what would turn out to be disastrous interview with George Stephanopoulos about the controversial "religious freedom' bill Pence signed into law as Indiana's governor in 2015. But Pence called his aides early the next morning to say he had changed his mind. The book says his advisers think Karen Pence was behind the decision. Pence was ridiculed for not being able to answer Stephanopoulos' question about whether the law would allow a business to deny services to gays and lesbians.

8. Karen's inaugural ball gown

Karen Pence had two dresses made for the inaugural balls and waited to choose one until she knew what color Melania Trump would wear. But the first lady's assistant told her not to worry; she could wear what she wanted.

9. Persuading Dan Coats

Indiana's former senator reluctantly agreed to be Trump's director of national intelligence because Pence repeatedly asked him to, according to the book. Once in the job, Dan Coats - who had nearly two decades of experience in Congress and also served as ambassador to Germany during 9/11 - nearly found it a little jarring to be told by Trump to talk to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about a highly sensitive national security issue, according to an unnamed source.

10. Bad moods

If the unfailingly polite Pence is in a bad mood, he laughs it off and calls it a "bad hair day.'

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