Normally the only vice presidential debate of the election wouldn’t get a great deal of attention, but being that Donald Trump’s past week has been an absolute mess, how Mike Pence performed tonight mattered more than it normally would. If he did poorly, it would only compound Trump’s growing list of problems. However, if he did well, then it could help turn things around for a campaign that seems to be on the verge of spiraling out of control.
Plus considering that, if elected, many feel Trump’s going to pass off a lot of the work he’s supposed to be doing as president to his VP, it’s more important than normal that we all know the type of right-wing religious radical Pence is.
Well, this debate wasn’t all that great. There was some good information conveyed, but the moderator was lousy, often unable to remotely maintain control of the flow of the debate, and the format was all over the place.
Tim Kaine did well, though it was clear fairly early on that these debates aren’t exactly his strong suit. He interrupted too often, which I felt was too “Trump-like.” It often overshadowed the fact that his message was much more factually based and that he did a great job calling out many of the vile comments Trump has said throughout his campaign. He did get better as the debate went on, allowing Pence to finish his statements, then hitting back by pointing out the inaccuracies in his statements.
As for Mike Pence, I’ll say to the casual viewer who doesn’t dig deep into a lot of what’s said, he did fairly well. He’s a slow-speaking, collected individual who’s nearly the complete opposite of Donald Trump. If you’re going to say the “winner” of the debate is based on who looked better throughout the debate, Pence might get the edge.
There’s just one slight problem: Nearly everything he said was complete nonsense.
When Kaine called out factual quotes Trump has said, he denied those comments. When Kaine pointed out that Trump called Social Security a Ponzi scheme, Pence denied that he said that. When Kaine pointed out that Bush’s SOFA agreement was the reason why our troops were removed from Iraq, Pence continued to blame it on Clinton, which isn’t true. When Kaine pointed out that Trump has praised authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Saddam Hussein, Pence claimed he never did any of that, even though he’s done all of that.
The list goes on and on. Time after time, Kaine would factually state something Trump has said or done, and Pence would simply deny he had done just that — even though there are easy-to-find facts, quotes and videos out there to prove that he did.
I think the most ridiculous line from Pence for the entire evening was his continued claim that Clinton is running an “insult-driven campaign,” not Trump — a statement that’s so absurd you have to be delusional to the point of insanity to actually believe it.
So, who won? That all depends on what you care about.
If you’re someone who thinks the more composed, collected candidate is the “winner,” then you probably think Pence was. He was, without a doubt, better optically during this debate.
However, if you’re someone who cares about facts, then Kaine absolutely destroyed Pence. The only downside to Kaine this evening was his tendency to interrupt Pence, especially considering how much flack Trump took for interrupting Clinton.
That being said, he absolutely crushed Pence on facts. Throughout the entire evening Pence was forced to deny that Donald Trump had said and done — exactly what he had said and done.
Ultimately this debate won’t matter a whole lot. While vice presidents do matter, the truth is, they’re largely forgotten once the election is over. Though when you have a candidate like Donald Trump who reports have indicated plans to make his VP do most of the actual work — this one mattered more than most.
While I won’t say Mike Pence’s performance was as bad as Trump’s, tonight served as another great reminder as to why we must do everything we can to keep Trump and Pence out of the White House on November 8th.