What did you make of the vice presidential debate?

During the first debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and failed businessman turned reality television personality Donald Trump, I live-blogged the whole thing, investing several hours of my time. As that only translated to 11 “likes” on Facebook, though, I thought I’d try something new tonight. I’m going to let you do all the analysis while I watch the Leonard Nimoy episode of Columbo with my daughter, who stayed home from school with a cold today… Here’s the debate. Enjoy.

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  1. Meta
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    This may not be the right thread to share this, but did you see that Bernie Sanders had announced a bill that would close tax loopholes used by Trump?

    From the website of Senator Sanders:

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Tuesday he would introduce legislation in the next session of Congress to fix our rigged tax system and close loopholes Donald Trump used to possibly avoid paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

    “Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class,” Sanders said. “It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.”

    Special breaks and loopholes in the tax code favor wealthy real estate investors like Trump and do nothing to boost the economy. These breaks likely made it easier for him to claim losses of $916 million in the 1990s and avoid paying income taxes in subsequent years.

    “I will be introducing comprehensive legislation at the beginning of the next session of Congress to do just that,” Sanders said.

    Read more:

  2. Meta
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    As long as we’re off-topic, did you also see that longtime Clinton foe Michael Chertoff, the man who led the Whitewater investigation, has come out saying that he supports Clinton against Trump? This is big news.

    Twenty years ago, Michael Chertoff was near the top of the Clintons’ enemy list. He was the lead Republican counsel on the Senate Whitewater Committee, one of the first of many congressional investigations into Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton later cast the only vote in the Senate against him when he was nominated in 2001 to head the Justice Department’s criminal division. She was also the lone no vote against Chertoff in 2003, when he was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the third circuit.

    All of this, though, was before the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump as its presidential candidate. This has shaken the party of Reagan. Chertoff, a lifelong Republican, will now be voting for the Democrat in November.

    Over the weekend, Chertoff — the former secretary of Homeland Security — told me his decision came down to national security. “I realized we spent a huge amount of time in the ’90s on issues that were much less important than what was brewing in terms of terrorism,” he said. For Chertoff, Clinton “has good judgment and a strategic vision how to deal with the threats that face us.”

    Whitewater has not come up much in this election season. But it was the Benghazi of the 1990s. Just as the Benghazi investigation begat a congressional probe into Clinton’s e-mail server, the Whitewater investigation led Congress to President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. So it’s significant that an investigator from that era is now in Hillary Clinton’s corner.


  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I think that Kaine pretty clearly won. This, of course, runs contrary to the analysis of the RNC, who posted before the debate had event started, “The consensus was clear after the dust settled, Mike Pence was the clear winner of the debate.”


  4. Tim
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I thought that Kaine did a fine job. It’s wasn’t a knockout in my opinion, but he won, and he proved that he’s an not a liability to the ticket.

    The Republicans are beginning to come after him though/ They’re digging into the cases he handled as a defense attorney. They released a new ad on Monday about his love of rapists and murderers.

    “Tim Kaine,” the ad concludes: “He has a passion for defending the wrong people. America deserves better.”


  5. kjc
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    i love your alternate spellings.

    i tried to watch. found it unbearable. saw this post by Richard Kim this morning:

    People are asking why Kaine didn’t attack Pence on LGBT rights. It is true that Pence is terrible, even among GOP governors. On the other hand, Kaine, as Lt. Gov., said this: “Marriage between a man and a woman is the building block of the family and a keystone of our civil society.” His own record, until very recently, was pretty lousy. Two observations: 1) it really does seem likely that Kaine’s objection to same-sex marriage was authentic, unlike Obama’s faking. 2) it’s remarkable that that record hamstrings Kaine now.

    not that LGBT issues are gonna change anyone’s vote. kaine seems like hillary’s kid brother who studied real hard for the test. whatever.

  6. Kim
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The Washington Post has 6 insights.

    1. There is near consensus that Kaine was off-putting. He came across as chirpy, condescending and rude. He mostly avoided eye contact with Pence, which made him looked shifty. He nervously gulped a few times. He tried to pack too much into every answer, talking fast so he could make his points before he was interrupted by the moderator or Pence. He bungled some zingers that could have been memorable.

    John Wagner, who has been covering Kaine since he got tapped as Clinton’s number two in July, thinks he was simply trying too hard: “Kaine turned in a performance that threatened to undermine the image of authenticity that has been one of his greatest strengths. The senator came across as over-rehearsed … At one point … Kaine accused Trump of being someone who ‘loves dictators’ and then unloaded one of many canned lines of the evening, accusing Trump of having ‘a kind of personal Mount Rushmore: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Moammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.’ Pence, who maintained the calmer demeanor through much of the debate, was able to easily parry, asking Kaine: ‘Did you work on that one a long time?’”

    While Clinton was happy to give Trump rope to let him hang himself last week, Kaine felt compelled to jump in constantly. When Pence noted he was in D.C. on 9/11, for example, he interjected to say that he was in Virginia, which he noted is where the Pentagon is.

    2. Like the election more broadly, Trump managed to suck up all the oxygen and the debate became largely about him – which ultimately is good news for the Clinton campaign. While Pence is receiving high marks this morning, the biggest storyline coming out of the debate is likely to be that he spent 90 minutes in A STATE OF DENIAL.

    He acted incredulous when Kaine correctly pointed out that Trump has called Mexicans “rapists,” NATO “obsolete” and said women who get abortions should be punished somehow. Pence pointedly declined to defend Trump’s offensive statements about women or his racial attacks on a U.S.-born federal judge of Mexican descent, opting to change the subject.

    Robert Costa says Pence was the opposite of Trump in both style and substance: “It was a dutiful, deflective and prepared performance for a campaign that rarely fits that description. Beneath the smooth patter, however, there were significant cracks with Trump … that showcased how far Pence’s instincts stray from Trump’s.”

    Amber Phillips writes that “Pence spent most of the debate defending a Trump that doesn’t exist.”

    National Review Executive Editor Rich Lowry argues that he won but with this caveat: “Pence evidently decided to pretend that he is on a ticket with an utterly conventional Republican … [and his] sidestepping of Trump is the big asterisk on his night.”

    Pence’s prep team clearly recognized that actually defending Trump across the board would lead to an unwinnable quagmire. So he repeatedly fibbed and pretended like Trump has never said things that he’s said on video tape. And in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Pence repeatedly attacked Kaine and Clinton for running “an insult-driven campaign.” But he did it with a smile.

    3. But, but, but: Pence overshadowed Trump in many ways, and this may cause friction within the campaign.

    Dana Milbank reports that Pence’s performance gave Republicans a fresh case of “buyer’s remorse”: “In the few months since he accepted Trump’s tap, Pence has become the Servpro of the 2016 election, constantly cleaning up after Trump when the presidential nominee, say, attacks a Gold Star family. A running mate’s usual task in a debate, and in a presidential campaign generally, is to assure the public that he or she could take over if the unthinkable occurs. In Pence’s case, there’s no question about his fitness to serve. The question is whether Trump is prepared to serve. That Pence could be a heartbeat from the presidency makes pulse rates calm. That Trump could be president causes tachycardia.”

    New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait adds, “Pence provided an evening of escapist fantasy for conservative intellectuals who like to close their eyes and imagine their party has nominated a qualified, normal person for president. It is hard to see how he helped the cause of electing the actual nominee.”

    4. To be sure, Pence certainly helped reassure some jittery Republicans looking for justifications to support Trump. In so doing, Pence also boosted his own 2020 ambitions.

    “Many Republican-leaning voters just want to be reassured there’s a stable person near Trump,” writes The Atlantic’s Molly Ball.

    New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan says Pence did what he needed to do after Donald’s loss in the first debate: “What Trump needs desperately is someone to assure the nervous middle that there will be a grown-up in the Oval Office next to the tantrum-throwing toddler. It was very effective, I’d say, on that count.”

    But there’s a limit to what he can do. “Pence won’t be able to sand away Trump’s rougher edges over the final two presidential debates, and the final five weeks of the campaign,” said ABC News political director Rick Klein. “But he may have steadied his ticket’s slide — even, at the end, knitting together some optimism for Trump.”

    “There’s one clear winner in this debate: Pence’s presidential hopes,” writes the New Republic’s Laura Reston. “Over the last few months, Pence has done a masterful job of remaining loyal to Trump in public, all while distancing himself from the nominee on issues that have traditionally been important to the Republican electorate … [and] tonight was no different. From almost the first moment, Pence touted his own humble roots and his record in Indiana and in Congress. When forced to defend Trump on his tax returns, for example, he did, but for the most part, he pivoted quickly back to his own achievements.” If he launches a presidential bid in 2020, she argues, he’ll now have a big leg up on rest of the field – in the unique position to unite disillusioned Trump supporters as well as his typical base of religious evangelical voters.

    5. Crazy like a fox? Perhaps the junior senator from Virginia accomplished exactly what he set out to:

    Many pundits insist that maybe Kaine was not trying to look good.

    6. The moderator might have been the biggest loser of the night. Elaine Quijano cut off what could have been a fruitful exchanges about a host of issues and did not go off script to ask obvious follow-up questions.

    She also failed to maintain control, which made it painful to watch. “According to the transcript, the debate devolved into indecipherable ‘crosstalk’ 32 times,” McKay Coppins tabulates on BuzzFeed.

    Politico’s Glenn Thrush called the debate “less a game-changer than a channel-changer”: “Tuesday marked the first time a digital division reporter moderated a major debate, and Quijano … showed her inexperience. She allowed both candidates to repeatedly interrupt each other, at times seeming to whisper her questions and demands for decorum.”

    Roll Call’s Walter Shapiro compares watching the debate to taking a valium: “It was an homage to the days when political parties nominated candidates as flashy as Michael Dukakis and Bob Dole.”

  7. K.A.S.
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I think Kaine really cares and had a hard time letting pence make light of serious issues without providing real ideas. Pence just wants the job.

  8. Alan Black
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    “Many People Are Saying That Donald Trump Is Mad About Mike Pence’s Good Reviews”


  9. site admin
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    If you don’t have time for the whole debate, just watch this.


  10. anonymous
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I hope there’s really something to the rumors that Trump is growing more and more pissed off at Pence.

    @ReaganBattalion on Twitter claims to have a source inside Trump Tower who said about Trump watching the VP debate, “I have never seen him so pissed off.” The same source also apparently told him that, when Pence didn’t come to Trump’s defense, Trump said: “Melania was right,” when she said that she didn’t want him to pick Pence as a running mate.

    I would love for an internal fight to bring the whole thing crashing down.

    What are the chances that Trump might fire Pence on air during the next presidential debate?

  11. Stephen Fife-Adams
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    This take makes sense to me:

    “Kaine lost the night but won the morning… It wasn’t pretty, but he got the job done.”


  12. Mark Maynard by proxy
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I would have liked it better if, in the corner of the screen during the entire debate, we could have seen Trump’s face reacting to what was being said.

  13. Lynne
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t watch it. Kaine’s interrupting was annoying but every time Pence opened his mouth I thought, “This man is fine with putting women who have miscarriages into prison” which is so evil in my mind that every time he was on screen, I just started getting too angry. I lasted about 10 minutes.

  14. Mr. X
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the link to the Think Progress piece, Stephen. I think it’s right on when it suggests that Kaine was deposing Pence, just trying to get him to go on the record reacting to Trump positions. It’s brilliant.

    From the article:

    These aren’t flashy or scripted affairs. A deposition can be repetitive and boring. But over many hours, a skilled lawyer can get what he wants out of a witness.

    What Kaine wanted to accomplish last night was to force Pence to react to some of Trump’s most outrageous statements. This was important both to remind people that Trump said those things and to place Pence in the uncomfortable position of having to react….

    In all, Kaine used the word “defend” eighteen times in a 90-minute debate. At one point, he summarized his efforts.

    “Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence, ‘I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next.’ And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate,” Kaine said.

    Indeed, Pence’s strategy in most cases was to simply to deny that Trump said things that he had actually said. That was a mistake.

    The tactic set up the Hillary Clinton campaign to produce this powerful video in the morning.

  15. kjc
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    except does anyone care about the videos? does anyone care about the deposition? trump supporters dgaf.

  16. EOS
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Pence won hands down. Kaine was irritating and rude. He would misrepresent Trump’s position and demand that Pence defend the distorted view. Pence rarely took the bait and used his time to answer the moderator’s questions as much as he could with Kaine trying to talk over him and constantly interrupt him. Otherwise he would have spent all the available time explaining why Kaine’s interpretation was flawed and left no time for him to explain the true positions of the Trump team. Kaine claimed that Clinton’s negotiations with Iran succeeded in preventing them from having a nuclear program – something no sane person could agree with. Pence really drove it home talking about the foreign policy failures of Clinton over the years and the absurdity of paying Iran a ransom for the hostages.

    The moderator had no control. Would have worked better if the microphones for each person were only turned on when answering a question and turned off as soon as time was up.

    Pence had excellent answers to recent police problems, to his opposition to partial birth abortion, and to Hillary’s cyber-security train wreck – all positions supported by the majority of Americans. Out of the 4 persons, Pence would make the best President. Hopefully Trump will spend a lot of time on Twitter, leaving Pence to get the real work done.

  17. kjc
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    like i said, dgaf.

  18. Kat
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    EOS, please explain what I’m looking at in this video.


  19. EOS
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink


    “From Donald Trump’s opposition to a federal minimum wage” – Kaine claimed he was opposed to any minimum wage – it’s a state’s issue.

    ” his plan to deport all illegal immigrants” – Trump said he would build the wall and deport immigrants who are criminals, then work on a process to handle all the other illegal immigrants. The process would include them leaving the country and then re-entering legally. (People who are deported are not supposed to come back.)

    “His—and Pence’s—repeated praise for Vladimir Putin” – saying he was a better leader than Clinton is not praise, just a very low bar.

    The “fact checking” after the first debate was also flawed. Didn’t fool anyone who has paid attention to politics for a few years. I suggest that you check sources other than The Daily Beast if you want any accuracy.

  20. Jack Andrew Gillard
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    The Clinton ad department won the debate. The new ad “indefensible ” is brilliant.

  21. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Twice, he stated first one thing, then the next part of his plans was subsequent, not concurrent…so no doing things at the same time, which I thought, was a tad unusual for a guy who was the Governor..
    So for immigration, first he will work to get rid of the bad immigrants, then he will deal with the others.

  22. Posted October 6, 2016 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    “He would misrepresent Trump’s position”


  23. Posted October 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, if they just used the opportunity to set Pence up for soundbites, figuring that no undecided voters were going to watch the vice presidential debate, it was brilliant. And, if true, it really makes me appreciate the Clinton campaign that much more.

  24. iRobert
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It was the lowest-rated vice-presidential debate since Dick Cheney and Joseph Lieberman 2000.

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