Kaine vs. Pence: Vice-Presidential Debate

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Kaine and Pence at the debate.
(Photo courtesy of Quartz.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Brendan Dyer, Staff Writer

.   .   .

The first vice presidential debate sparked new life into the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 

Democratic running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, and Republican running mate, Governor Mike Pence, held the energetic and politically charged debate at Longwood University and in the wake of the first presidential debate last Monday. 

Elaine Quijano, anchor at CBSN, moderated the debate with a strict grasp on the proceedings from one segment to the next. The debate opened with candidates being asked what makes them qualified to enter the role of president at a moment’s notice. 

Kaine had the floor first and opened with a thank you to Longwood University. Kaine pointed out that Clinton picked him because he has “been a missionary.”

A public servant his whole life, Kaine has seen all levels of government. He’s been on city council, a mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and now a U.S. senator. “That’s what I bring to the ticket,” said Kaine. “But my primary role is to be Hillary Clinton’s righthand
person.”

Pence, on how he would handle the moment he’d need to take the highest office of the country, if necessary, opened with, “Thank you, Elaine, and thank you to—thank you to Norwood University for their wonderful hospitality and the Commission of Presidential
Debates.”

Pence said he will bring a “a lifetime growing up in a small town, a lifetime where I’ve served in the Congress of the United States, where I’ve led a state that works in the great state of Indiana, I would hope and, frankly, I would pray to be able to meet that moment
with that lifetime of experience.”

Quijano mentioned to Kaine that 60 percent of voters see Clinton as untrustworthy, to which Sen. Kaine responded, “Hillary Clinton has passion,” speaking of her life in public service. “She has been focused on serving others with a special focus on empowering families and kids,” Kaine said. “It’s always been about putting others first.” 

Pence, when asked why 67 percent of voters think Trump is a risky choice, pointed towards Sen. Kaine and Sec. Clinton and said they “would know a lot about an insult-driven campaign.” Meaning that 67 percent of voters see Trump as risky because of the remarks made by Clinton and Sen. Kaine’s campaign. 

As Pence’s rhetoric unfolded to explain his issues with Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, he mentioned the Middle East “spinning out of control.” As Russia was brought up, Sen. Kaine and Pence argued amongst themselves, disregarding the question.

Quijano said, “Well, we’re going to get to Russia in just a moment. But I do want to get to the question at…” but was interrupted by both Vice Presidential candidates.

terrorism

Pence commented on Trump being viewed by 67 percent of voters as risky by saying “The campaign of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine has been an avalanche of insults. Look, to get to your question about trustworthiness, Donald Trump has built a business through hard times and through good times.”

Kaine interjected, “And paid few taxes and lost a billion a year.”

With the national debt playing a key role in this election, it was likely a point of interest for both Pence and Kaine.

Pence, on the economy, said, “I think the fact that—under this past administration of which Hillary Clinton was a part, we’ve almost doubled the national debt.”

Pence went on to point out he comes from a state that works, claiming the state of Indiana has balanced budgets.

Kaine leapt at any chance to exploit the governor’s position on issues like Russia, where Pence called Vladimir Putin a “small and bullying leader.”

This is new from Pence, as his views of the Russian president seem to have changed since last month, when he said in an interview with Dana Bash of CNN, “I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been.”

With a Clinton-Trump spread, this campaign season has seen a break from the Democratic-Republican retorts we’ve seen in prior presidential battles. 

Kaine and Pence brought a spirited argument between two different parties to the national stage. Last night’s debate was a take on what this election season would look like had the character of those running for president not been the key issue at stake in voter’s minds.

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