From Farmville, Virginia –
In their only debate face off of the 2016 race, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine fought the good fight for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton here on Tuesday night, both men accusing the other party of focusing more on insults than issues, as each made the case for voters to back their candidate in November.
Here’s a quick look at what happened:
1. Tim Kaine interrupts. And interrupts some more. It was obvious what the game plan was for Hillary Clinton’s running mate, as Kaine repeatedly tried to put Pence on the defensive over something that Donald Trump said or did. But in the process of doing that, Kaine did it so many times that it might have been too much for some voters, as GOP consultant Frank Luntz found in one of his focus groups:
But among Democrats, they saw Kaine prevailing.
2. Mike Pence defends Donald Trump. And defends some more. While Pence made his points against Hillary Clinton on all sorts of issues, he spent a good chunk of the night pushing back against Kaine. “He’s not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton.” Despite Kaine’s repeated attacks, Pence maintained his normally calm demeanor and stuck with the guy at the top of the ticket. “I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with Donald Trump,” Pence said.
3. Insults. Insults. And more insults.Both Kaine and Pence tried to portray the other side as being responsible for a fountain of negative statements. Kaine said several times that Trump has run an “insult driven campaign.” Pence meanwhile said that Clinton and Kaine are throwing off an “avalanche of insults.” Kaine at one point basically labeled Trump a ‘fool’ and a ‘maniac.’ Pence tried to argue that Kaine was coming up with canned attacks. “Did you work on that one for a long time?” Pence asked. Kaine later said Trump has featured, “one insult after another.” The debate bingo winner might have been the word, ‘insult.’
4. Moderator Elaine Quijano struggles with Kaine and Pence. First, let me say, being a debate moderator is almost a no-win situation. Someone is probably not going to be happy with snap decisions on how much time to give to one candidate or the other, but Quijano seemed to struggle from the beginning to keep the candidates from sniping at each other and talking over each other. “GENTLEMEN, PLEASE!” Quijano implored at one point. It won’t surprise me to see a number of Republicans argue that Quijano was not fair to Pence.