Vice President Pence raises money for GOP in Denver amid protests

DENVER -- Vice President Mike Pence was greeted with chants of "shame" Thursday at the Denver Marriott Tech Center by 106 protesters dressed as handmaids.

Inside the hotel, it was a much more friendly audience.

After a tour of Lockheed Martin, Pence spoke at a Colorado GOP fundraising dinner.

Organizers say it was the first high-profile visit for a Colorado State GOP fundraiser in more than 10 years.

"I stand with the Colorado Republican Party," Pence said to a crowd of about 300.

Much of Pence's speech was familiar rhetoric, often heard at party events such as this.

Pence boasted about President Donald Trump's defense of life, support for the Second Amendment and selection of Colorado Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pence also spent time address the president's tax plan -- which cleared a key hurdle in Congress on Thursday.

"We will cut out all the handouts, the carve outs, the loopholes that benefit the wealthy. We will make it so nine out of 10 Americans can file a tax return on their own," Pence said to applause.

Republican Party officials shut down any criticism over enthusiasm for the event. Previously, the party slashed prices to $150 to encourage more people to attend.

While some seats in the ballroom were empty, GOP officials declared the event a success because of Pence's presence.

"The significance is he recognizes us as a key battleground state. We got a key governor's race coming up," said Jeff Hays, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Hays said most of the money raised will go toward next year's gubernatorial race.

Outside the hotel, protesters, mostly dressed as handmaids to mock Pence's policies gathered around a microphone for activists speeches.

"I think it's a little funny this is their marquee event and they can't even sells tickets, which is why they had to drop the ticket price," said Eric Walker, with the Colorado Democratic Party.