By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Pence and Madison

Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the University of Iowa on Monday night and took this question from a student: “On January 5th, you were convinced that the election was correctly stolen,” Jared started. “You, Trump, Peter Navarro, John Eastman, and others had a plan on the morning of the 6th to send the certification back to the states. My question is what is the name of the person who told you to buck President Trump’s plan and certify the votes?"

Pence responded: "James Madison." Pence told the questioner, “Everything you’ve recited relative to me is false.”

Pence: “The Constitution is very clear that elections are to be governed at the state level. The Founders actually made that decision at the Constitutional Convention. And the only role of the federal government was to open and count the electoral votes that were sent by the states. I understand the disappointment in the election. But you’ve got to be willing to do your duty.”

2. A deeply disturbing poll


A new poll taken by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute finds: 31% believe the 2020 election was "stolen" from Donald Trump, including two-thirds of Republicans and a 82% of those who trust Fox News more than any other media outlet. The poll found 30% of Republicans agree that violence might be warranted, compared with 17% of independents and 11% of Democrats. “I’m not an alarmist by nature, but I’m deeply disturbed by these numbers. I think that we really have to take them seriously as a threat to democracy,” said Robert Jones, the founder and chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute.

3. Borders was 'shocked' by Ellington

State Rep. Jeff Ellington, who had represented HD62, has moved into HD45 and will run there in 2022. The district is held by fellow Republican State Rep. Bruce Borders, who told Indiana Public Media:“I was shocked about it, to be honest with you. I mean, he never approached me about it. I just called him I said, ‘Jeff, I've heard this (from other legislators).’ And he was apprehensive about talking about it. And then he said, ‘Yeah, we're looking at doing that.’” 

4. OD crisis in Evansville

A 3-year-old child died of a drug overdose last week in an Evansville home where more than 5,000 fentanyl-laced pills were found. DEA Special Agent Michael Gannon told WFIE-TV: “People are calling these fentanyl murders at this point. And not just overdoses. This is deliberate fentanyl being put into stuff. It’s 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.” The Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday (live streamed https://www.in.gov/recovery/about/commission/). 

5. College enrollment decline

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education said that 2.6% drop in degree-seeking students this fall at public universities brings Indiana’s five-year loss to 10.4%. That's down from 267,598 students in fall 2016 to 239,799 students this year. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette  reports that with an enrollment drop of 1.3%, four-year public institutions faced less of a hit than two-year schools, which saw their enrollment drop by 7.1%. 

Thanks for reading, folks. It's The Atomic!