Here are the takeaways from the vice presidential debate. As Told By CNN:
Pence’s temperament wins the night
The Indiana governor Mike Pence was in full talk-radio mode Tuesday night. Tim Kaine, meanwhile, should switch to decaf.
His interruptions — one after another after another — were so distracting that it often drove attention away from the main point of the debate and made policy conversations hard to follow.
— POLITICO (@politico) October 5, 2016
The Virginia senator was trying to mimic Vice President Joe Biden’s style against Paul Ryan in 2012. And Pence, who honed his skills and knew exactly how to deal with it.
A calm Pence benefited from the contrast and won the night — with 48% of those who watched it saying he had the best night, compared to 42% saying Kaine won, per a CNN/ORC poll of debate viewers.
Read More: Hillary Clinton Attacks On The Side
— Sandy Pallot Klein (@SPKlein52) October 5, 2016
But Kaine gets in hits against Trump
Kaine was determined to spend the night throwing out as many of Trump’s controversial and igniting remarks as possible, hoping that some would sink in for the large audience watching Tuesday night.
And at the same time Pence was accusing Clinton and Kaine of running an “insult-driven campaign,” Trump was on Twitter, attacking Fox News host Megyn Kelly and retweeting supporters who said Kaine looked like a “fool” and an “evil crook out of the Batman movies.”
— Aubrey P. Cullen III (@aubreypcul) October 5, 2016
Kaine spent much of the debate lobbing Trump’s own words at Pence.
At one point, Kaine accused Trump of “shooting himself in the foot” by attacking a Latina former Miss Universe; claiming to know more than the generals about fighting ISIS; trash-talking Sen. John McCain’s military service; supporting a “personal Mount Rushmore” of dictators and believing “the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons.”
Funny thing is that Trump actually said those things.
Pence deflected, saying Kaine’s attack had “a lot of creative lines in it.”
And Kaine shot back: “See if you can defend any of it.”
Pence ran away from Trump’s foreign policy agenda
The vice presidential nominee broke up– sometimes in big ways — from the top of his own ticket.
Pence called Vladimir Putin a “small and bullying” leader — and denied that Trump has praised Putin, even though Trump has offered kind words about the Russian president throughout the entire campaign, repeatedly labeling him a “strong leader.”
Kaine also reminded Pence that he praised Putin as well. Pence told CNN’s Dana Bash last month that it was “inarguable” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Barack Obama. Pence goes further than Trump on Syria military action. He also suggested the United States “should be prepared to use military force” against the Syrian government if Russia doesn’t stop supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Pence also said that “what America ought to do right now is to immediately establish safe zones” to protect Syrian refugees — a departure from Trump, who has praised the idea of safe zones but put the burden on Middle Eastern countries to establish and maintain them.
The major policy splits between Trump and Pence pose a series of new questions about their foreign policy that could dominate the next week — and become the most important result of the vice presidential debate.
Pence didn’t take the bait
Pence displayed a discipline that Trump did not in the first presidential debate: He didn’t take the bait.
When Kaine threw a litany of attacks on Trump in Pence’s direction, Pence often scoffed, batted them away and moved on — never addressing them directly, never helping Kaine to make Trump’s most incendiary words sink in. And always turning the conversation back to Clinton.
America learned nothing about the VP candidates
The vice presidential was all about defining and defending the top of the tickets.
So the political histories of Pence and Kaine weren’t mined at all.
That moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS was uninterested in the would-be veeps’ backgrounds was clear when the topics of trade and gay rights never came up.
Sticking firmly to script, Quijano loses the debate
Both have flip-flopped on the Trans-Pacific Partnership — ditching their support for the 12-nation trade deal to embrace Trump and Clinton’s opposition to it, without ever offering detailed explanations for their reversals.
Pence signed a “religious freedom” law that set off a national debate about what should happen when LGBT rights and business owners’ religious beliefs come into conflict. He wasn’t even asked about it — and Kaine didn’t mention it either.
The night’s topics and performances underscored that 2016 is really all about two of the most famous figures in American life: Trump and Clinton.
In Which Side Are You On?
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