The vice presidential debate was pretty much a mess.
Moderator Elaine Quijano had no control over the candidates and raced through topics as if the goal was to cover everything possible in just 90 minutes. She robotically read through her list of questions but seemed to disregard the answers.
Neither Tim Kaine or Mike Pence came off very well either. They didn’t answer questions. They tried and failed with canned attack lines. They were disrespectful of the weak attempts by the moderator to keep them on topic. They both talked over each other so much that it was annoying to almost everyone watching.
Pence had a much tougher job at the outset. After Donald Trump’s disastrous debate performance last week, Pence needed to do something to reverse the momentum. He didn’t do it. Aside from brushing aside what Trump has said, it’s not clear what his strategy was. On some issues, like Russia and Syria, Pence actually disagreed with Trump.
All Kaine needed to do was make the debate about Donald Trump but he couldn’t do it either. He came off as nervous and overly rehearsed. He didn’t effectively call out Pence for denying basic facts about Trump.
If you scored the debate on style, Pence probably won narrowly. He looked into the camera and came off as the calmer of the two. I suspect most instant polls will find Pence the winner.
However, Kaine was a much better running mate. He defended the nominee at the top of his ticket. Pence wasn’t willing to do it.
After watching the debate, it’s clear that Kaine is running for vice president in 2016. But Pence sounded more like he’s running for president in 2020.Save to Favorites