Pence being careful on union protests

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is treading carefully around the union disputes that have gripped the Midwest and his home state as he considers a run for the governor's mansion.

Speaking on a local radio station on Monday, Pence said that although he doesn't support the arguments of pro-union protesters in states like Wisconsin and Indiana, he thinks the open debate over benefits is healthy.

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"I think what you see in Indiana, in Wisconsin, and elsewhere are vigorous, important debates about the future of our country," Pence said in an interview with local Indiana radio station WTLC.

Pence, a conservative favorite who had considered running for president, is mulling a bid for Indiana governor.

His remarks come as state legislature Democrats in Indiana and Wisconsin continue to stay away from their respective states, thereby blocking bills that would limit certain union rights.

Protests of the union bills have broken out in a number of Midwestern states, with the largest and longest-running occurring in Wisconsin. On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) continued his calls for state Democrats blocking the controversial bill from passing to return home and vote on the bill.

Walker said that if the Democrats don't return home in the next 24 hours, they will miss an important chance to solve Wisconsin's debt problems. He says the bill that union advocates are protesting is necessary for solving the state's debt woes.