From the February 5 edition of CBS' Face The Nation:
JOHN DICKERSON (HOST): This is a new debate. This is not an old debate. No one has compared the United States to a killer in Vladimir Putin, and this is not the first time that the president has done this. When he was a candidate on MSNBC, he was asked whether it was wrong for Russia to kill journalists, and he said, quote, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.” When President Barack Obama was in office, he was criticized consistently by conservatives for not praising American exceptionalism. He never said anything on this par, did he?
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: What I can tell you is there was no moral equivalency in what the president was saying. He was simply acknowledging that he has been, throughout his life, willing to be critical of government policies and government actions in the United States. But we recognize, we recognize the extraordinary superiority of the ideals of the American people and the implementation of those ideals.
DICKERSON: Do you think America is morally superior to Russia?
PENCE: What you have in this new president is someone who is willing to and is, in fact, engaging the world, including Russia, and saying where can we find common interests that will advance the security of the American people, the peace and prosperity of the world. And he's determined to come at that in a new and renewed way.
DICKERSON: But America morally superior to Russia, yes or no?
PENCE: I believe that the ideals that America has stood for throughout our history represent the highest ideals of humankind. I was actually at, I was at Independence Hall yesterday, and I stood in the very room where the Constitution of the United States was crafted, the very building where the Declaration of Independence was held forth. Every American including our president represents that we uphold the highest ideals of the world.
DICKERSON: Shouldn't this be just a yes answer? Shouldn't we just be able to say yes to that question, though?
PENCE: I think it's without question, John.
DICKERSON: That America is morally superior to Russia?
PENCE: That American ideals are superior to countries all across the world, but again, what the president is determined to do is, as someone who has spent a lifetime looking for deals, is to see if we can have a new relationship with Russia and other countries that advances the interests of America first and the peace and security of the world.