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Kaine attacks, Pence fights back in VP debate


    Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence, right, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine stand before the audience during the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. today.

  • Police officers walk outside a security fence around Longwood University before the vice-presidential debate between Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

FARMVILLE, Va. >> Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine aggressively challenged Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over a long list of Donald Trump’s controversial positions and statements tonight, drawing a vigorous defense from the Republican No. 2 on Trump’s tax history. But Pence left Trump’s demeaning comments about women, Barack Obama’s citizenship and broader questions about temperament go largely unchallenged.

Pence and Kaine, who have received little attention in a race focused on Trump and Hillary Clinton, faced off for 90 minutes in the only vice presidential debate of the campaign.

With the close White House race perhaps starting to tip in Clinton’s favor, Pence outlined a detailed conservative agenda on tax policy, entitlements and immigration. He was strikingly more prepared and more detailed in his answers than Trump was in last week’s first presidential debate. He was also more consistent in painting the Democratic ticket as career politicians unwilling to shake up Washington.

“Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want more of the same,” Pence said.

There was a striking difference in the two men’s manner. Kaine, Clinton’s usually easygoing No. 2, went on the attack from the start, repeatedly interrupting and challenging Pence. Pence, an equally genial politician, was unflappable.

Kaine pressured Pence to answer for some of his running mate’s provocative statements, using Trump’s own words such as dismissing some women as pigs or slobs. He also challenged Pence on Trump’s decision to break with decades of campaign tradition by not releasing his taxes.

“Donald Trump must give the American public his tax returns to show he’s prepared to be president, and he’s breaking his promise,” Kaine said.

Asked about reports that Trump might not have paid any federal taxes for years, Pence said his running mate “used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used, and he did it brilliantly.”

Records obtained by The New York Times showed Trump suffered more than $900 million in losses in 1995 that could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years.

Kaine, too, defended his running mate’s weaknesses, chiefly the public’s questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. He said that while Trump was “selfish,” Clinton had devoted her career to helping children and families.

On national security, Kaine revived Trump’s frequently flattering comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He loves dictators,” Kaine said. “He’s got like a personal Mount Rushmore: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Moammar Gadhafi and Saddam Hussein.”

Pence tried to flip the tables by accusing Kaine’s running mate of stoking Russia’s belligerence.

“The weak and feckless foreign policy of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has awaked an aggression in Russia that first appeared in Russia a few years ago,” Pence said. “All the while, all we do is fold our arms and say we’re not having talks anymore.”

On criminal justice, Kaine argued that Trump’s embrace of “stop and frisk” style policing was a mistake. Pence argued that Clinton has used police shootings to argue that there is “implicit bias” in police departments, and he said the Democrats should “stop seizing on these moments of tragedy.”

Kaine quickly shot back: “I can’t believe you are defending the position that there’s no bias.”

Kaine and Pence are far less familiar to most Americans than their running mates, who are among the most well-known figures in the country. Both vice presidential candidates have spent years in politics, are well-liked by colleagues and are deeply religious.

While their performances were unlikely to dramatically change the way voters view Trump and Clinton, the nationally televised debate was nevertheless a spotlight opportunity for to introduce themselves to Americans, energize party loyalists and potentially sway the shrinking pool of undecided voters.

Today’s debate was the only time Kaine and Pence will face off in this election, while Trump and Clinton tangle in three debates.

Clinton was widely viewed as the winner of her opening debate with Trump, rattling the real estate mogul with jabs about his business record and demeaning statements about women, and responding to his attacks with calm rejoinders. New public opinion polls have showed her improving her standing in nearly all battleground states.

At least some of Clinton’s bounce is likely attributable to Trump’s conduct coming out of the debate. He redoubled his criticism of a beauty queen and her weight, one of the topics Clinton raised in the debate, and went on a pre-dawn Twitter tirade trying to disparage the former Miss Universe.

While Trump has five weeks until Election Day to regain his footing, early voting is already underway in some states.

The vice presidential showdown at Virginia’s Longwood University was moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News. While last week’s first presidential debate was watched by a record-setting television audience of 84 million people, Tuesday’s contest was expected to have smaller viewership given Pence and Kaine’s lower profiles in the campaign.

Trump watched the debate from his Las Vegas hotel and couldn’t resist a piece of the night’s spotlight, promising to live-tweet the proceedings from his famed Twitter account.

He weighed in with a few short thoughts — including “Both are looking good! Now we begin!” and then “@mike_pence is doing a great job – so far, no contest!”

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      • Yeah, something about him being a life long Christian, in the peace corp and a graduate of Harvard Law School makes him really weird. Oh, I forgot, from R standards, being accomplished and well educated are not attributes we want in our leaders.

        • Well educated but no manners. He must have failed his etiquette class. Constant interrupting. Where’s the fact checker. He didn’t go to Ole Miss?

        • And you know what is rude, being denied service, because of an unconstitutional state law, that allows folks to refuse you based on your sexuality.

        • interrupted Pence so that the listen public won’t get the message straight. Pence lost so many instances to crucify Hillary. Could have said FBI Director affirmed Hillary’s lies about the email, Hillary lied about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire. She’ll say anything to make herself look good, she’s a FAKE a true politician with Kaine spewing lies one after another.

        • IRT Ike, Mr. Kaine did not enter the Peace Corps but served with the Jesuit Missionaries in the Honduras. And, can’t figure why he as a Catholic supports abortion, same-sex marriage, adultery, and not being truthful. The Vice President debate was swept clean by Mr. Pence.

        • I find it odd as an observer that Clinton people complain about Trump interrupting her BUT Trump people also have a problem with Kaine’s interruptions. Trump people had a problem in their debate with fact checking BUT seem to want fact checking in the VP debate.

    • Mike Pence is such a weak, boring speaker, while Tim Kaine is an articulate and energetic speaker. It’s easy to interrupt Pence, who can only drone on vaguely when asked about Trump’s words and actions.

      And Kaine speaks fluent Spanish. It must eat Trump up that a “Mexican” is out-talking his running mate.

      • HiLIARy is going to give him a spanking for acting like a spoiled child and looking like a fool. He was shaking in his boots and appeared very frightened. I don’t blame him after viewing the Clinton hit list.

  • Hillary Clinton continues to gain ground in our presidential forecast, as it becomes clearer that last week’s debate was a turning point in the race. In fact, the polls we added to our database on Tuesday may have been Donald Trump’s worst since the debate. They included surveys showing Clinton leading Trump by 9 percentage points and 10 points in Pennsylvania, by 6 points and 2 points in North Carolina, and by 3 points in Nevada.

    These polls contribute to an impressive streak for Clinton, who has trailed in just one of 25 swing state polls conducted since the debate. Her chances of winning the election are up to 75 percent in our polls-only model, her best position since Aug. 30, and 71 percent in our polls-plus model. Those forecasts assume that Clinton currently leads Trump by slightly more than 4 percentage points nationally, which may be on the conservative side as Clinton’s lead has tended to grow as additional post-debate polls have been added to the model.

    One particular area of concern for Trump is North Carolina, where the polls we added on Tuesday were the fourth and fifth since the debate to show Clinton ahead there. They also had favorable trend lines for Clinton, with SurveyUSA showing her with a 2-point lead rather than a 4-point deficit in their early August poll, and Elon University showing her up by 6, instead of down by 1 point in their mid-September poll.

    North Carolina is not a state where you want to be trailing in the polls in October, hoping for a late comeback.1 That’s because it typically has high rates of early and absentee voting. In 2012, for example, about 60 percent of ballots in North Carolina were cast before Election Day. Absentee voting is already underway there, while in-person early voting begins on Oct. 20. 538



      • Obama never made excuses, but it actually looked like he was sick in that first debate. It’s the only time we’ve seen him so at a loss for words. In the next debate, he came back and was himself again. And the rest is history.

        Donald WAS his usual self and he lost badly. He’s not going to improve, because it’s easier to lie to himself and say that he won the debate. His campaign staff members were told to not mention he lost, because it ruffled his orange feathers. Is that the kind of egomaniac emperor–er, president you want watching over this great country?

        Next debate, Clinton will bring up a Mexican, Muslim, or another female to publicly criticize Trump. He’ll be up at 3 am, tweeting ridiculous insults and dooming his own campaign.

    • So if Washington Post got it correct about Pence, how can they not get it correct about Clinton (53%) beating Trump? It seems both sides pick and choose what to agree with and disagree with when it suits their narrative.

  • Pence was much more impressive and statesmanly than Kaine. Kaine was always interrupting when it wasn’t his turn to speak, which to me, left a distasteful impression. I couldn’t stand Kaine’s smirking clownish attitude and wondered: If HRC were ever to be elected and something happened to her, we’d be stuck with this bozo as president. Whereas Pence really showed class. Too bad we aren’t electing the vice president hopefuls as our next leader.

    • An observation, were you ok with Trump interrupting Clinton as many people have pointed out? I noticed that Clinton supporters weren’t acknowledging Kaine as interrupting but they did see Trump as interrupting.

    • I’ll admit Kaine interrupted more than he needed to. So can see why viewers slightly favored Pence’s subdued approach. But the analysts note that this debate did not change any votes.

      Let’s see what happens in the next few days, as fact checking (which will favor Clinton/Kaine) AND soundbites (which will mostly be Kaine attacking Trump, correctly) will be replayed and reprinted in the media. That should again favor Clinton.

      • But I don’t think any debate changes votes. If you are for Clinton you will just hear and point to things that support your point of view, and if you like Trump you will do the same thing. Ignore what you don’t like and highlight what you do like.

        • True for the most part. But there still are some undecideds; they can make a world of difference IF it’s a close race in November. In this unpredictable race, a smart candidate would focus on those undecideds, think about what can tilt them to their side.

  • My observation…Kaine’s behavior seemed like a little ill mannered boy…while Pence was the grown up displaying restraint and maturity. It kind of reminded me of a spoiled student being counseled by the principal. I enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Pence lies just about as much as Trump. Here are a few of Pence’s blatant lies:

    Tim Kaine: You (Pence) have said that Putin is a stronger leader than Obama.
    Mike Pence: I didn’t say that.
    Here is a link to a video of Mike Pence saying exactly that:

    Tim Kaine: Trump has said he is in favor of Korea, Japan & Saudi Arabia having nukes.
    Mike Pence: He (Trump) didn’t say that.
    Here is a link to a video where Trump says exactly that:

    Tim Kaine: Trump has said “Putin is a strong leader”
    Mike Pence: No he (Trump) hasn’t.
    Here is a link to Trump saying exactly that:–he-is-a-strong-leader-589070915601

    • I will have to agree with Trump/Pence Putin is a stronger leader than Obama. That doesn’t mean I like the Guy or admire him. Obama does not have the balls to stand up for this country, we can not afford another four years of Obama. ABC

    • Harold: I bite. I went to you tube to listen to Trump. He didn’t say he was in favor of Saudi Arabia having nukes. He said he thought it was going to happen anyway. He was talking about Japan, Saudi Arabia and other countries either reimbursing the US for their defense or becoming able to defend themselves. So Pence is not a liar and you want the less than 50% of Americans that pay Federal taxes to pay to defend the rest of the World and provide free health care and college education for everyone. Can we do anything else for you today?

  • So funny that while Mike Pence was denying that Trump was running and “insult-driven” campaign Trump was busy tweeting insults about Tim Kaine’s appearance….you can’t make this stuff up folks!…LOL

    • It’s amazing how ridiculous Trump behaves, over and over again. I’d like to say that when it’s over and Trump has been banished back to reality TV, we can all laugh at the comical situations he created. But then again, there’ll still be the 40% who bought his lies and attention-grabbing stunts. They are out there….among us.

  • Disclosure of the tax return may be thrust of the campaign to follow? Wonder if disclosure of net worth may be revealing? For example, Hillary upon leaving the White House as the former 1st Lady commented that they were “flat broke”! Some research currently show the Clinton’s net worth in the hundred$ of Millions, while Chelsea their daughter the most recent poop sheet indicated as $15 million earned as Vice-President of one of their many tax-deductible charitable foundations. From rag to riches since becoming Secretary of State?? They both should withdraw their run and let V-P’s run for the White House?

    • lunalilohi is it safe to say that you have a problem with Trumps 47 interruptions? Do you have the same problem with Kaines 70+ interruptions?

      Keonigohan it appears that Trumps 47 interruptions are still acceptable to you but 70+ is where you draw the line, would this be correct?

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