POLL: Who Won the Vice-Presidential Debate?

Tim Kaine, Mike Pence


The vice-presidential debate on Tuesday night between Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana may not have brought the same intensity as last week’s first presidential debate, however, it was full of fiery moments on hot-topic issues.

Kaine frequently interrupted Pence, and repeatedly challenged him to defend statements made by Trump.

The debate came at a critical time in a highly contentious election as Donald Trump tries to recover from a tough week and Hillary Clinton looks to capitalize on her momentum following the first debate.

CBS News anchor Elaine Quijano moderated the 90-minute debate, who is the first Asian-American moderator of a presidential or vice presidential debate.

Read on for a recap of the vice-presidential debate, and vote in our poll at the bottom of the post on who you think won the debate.

Opening Statements

Quijano framed the first question on “presidential leadership.”

In Kaine’s opening remarks, he mentioned Farmville’s role in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education court case.

After mentioning the civil rights history of Longwood University, he said, “I am so proud to be running with another strong, history-making woman, Hillary Clinton.”

He then transitioned to why Clinton chose him as her running mate.

“Hillary told me why she asked me to be her running mate,” Kaine said, adding that Clinton said that “it’s going to be about results.

“She said to me ‘you’ve been a missionary, and a civil rights lawyer, a city councilman and mayor, a lieutenant governor and governor and now a U.S. senator. I think you will help me figure out how to govern this nation.’”

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, opened the debate saying he was proud to run with Donald Trump.

He detailed his experience in politics, however did call the host college Norwood University instead of Longwood University, which quickly gained traction on Twitter.

“I would hope that if the responsibility ever fell to me in this role, that I would meet the responsibility should I be elected vice president of the United States, to bring up a lifetime of experience, a lifetime of growing up in a small town, where I served in the Congress of the United States, in the great state of Indiana,” Pence said. “I would hope, and pray, to be able to meet that moment with my lifetime of experience.”

Clinton’s Private Email Server

Quijano followed up on Kaine’s praise of Clinton’s character. The moderator asked Kaine, “Why do so many people distrust her? Is it because they have questions about her e-mails and the Clinton foundation?”

Kaine replied that “she has been focused on serving others with a special focus on empowering families and kids.”

He described Clinton’s experience as a sharp contrast to Trump.

“Donald Trump always puts himself first,” he said. “He built his career off the backs of the little guy.”

Kaine also criticized Trump for referring to Mexicans as rapists and criminals.

“It is painful to suggest we go back to think about these days where an African-American could not be a citizen of the United States,” Kaine said. “I cannot imagine how Governor Pence can defend Donald Trump.”

Regarding Clinton’s private email server, Kaine said that Clinton had been cleared by “a Republican F.B.I. director.”

Pence had a strong reaction.

“If your son or my son handled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did, they’d be court-martialed,” he said.

Trump’s Temperament

Quijano asked Pence, “Why do so many Americans think Trump is simply too erratic?”

Rather than discussing Trump’s temperament, Pence turned the conversation to Hillary Clinton and her tenure as secretary of state.

“First and foremost, senator, and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult driven campaign. That’s you and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult driven campaign,” he continued. “We see entire portions of the world, particularly the middle East, spinning out of control in a situation we are watching hour-by-hour in Syria today, a result of the failed for policy that Hillary Clinton helped lead in this administration and create.”

Quijano reminded both men that there would be a foreign policy portion later in the debate.


“On the economy, there is a choice for the American electorate,” Kaine said. “Do you want a ‘You are hired’ president in Hillary Clinton or a ‘You are fired’ president in Donald Trump?”

Kaine then outlined Clinton’s economic plan.

“We have five components. First, we invest in manufacturing, infrastructure, and research into clean energy jobs for tomorrow. Second, we invest in our workforce from pre-k education to great teachers, to debt free college, and tuition free college for families that make less than $125,000 per year.”

Kaine also voiced support for raising the minimum wage so Americans who work full-time don’t have to live under the poverty level.

Pence responded by saying:

“What you all just heard out there is more taxes, $2 trillion in more spending, more deficits, more debt, more government, and if you think that is all worth it, look at the other side of the table. The policies of this administration, which Hillary Clinton and Senator Kaine want to continue, have run this economy into a ditch.”

Trump’s Taxes

A discussion of Trump’s taxes resulted in a squabble between the two vice-presidential nominees.

Pence said Trump, who may not have paid taxes for two decades, used the law “brilliantly.”

“Donald Trump is a businessman, not a career politician,” Pence said. “He faced some pretty tough times 20 years ago.”

Pence then addressed the real-estate mogul’s trustworthiness.

“Donald Trump has built a business through hard times and good times,” he said. “He has brought an extraordinary business acumen, employed tens of thousands of people in this country.”

Pence continued to defend Trump saying:

“Like virtually every other business, including the New York Times, he used operating laws, a tax code that actually is designed to encourage opportune ownership — encourage entrepreneurship.”

Kaine criticized the way Trump boasted about not paying taxes.

“He said ‘that makes me smart.’ Is it smart not to be for our military, for veterans, for teachers? I guess all of us who do pay for those things, I guess we’re stupid,” Kaine said.

Police Brutality

The controversial issue of police brutality came up when Quijano posed a question about the Dallas police shooting.

“People shouldn’t be afraid to bring up issues of bias in law enforcement,” Kaine said.

“The way you make immunities favor and the way you make police saver is through community policing. You build the bonds between amenity and the police force, bonds of understanding, that’s between the community and the police force bonds of understanding,” Kaine said. “When that gap narrows, it is safer for communities, and for the police.”

Kaine said he and Clinton would place a focus on community policing and a comprehensive mental health reform package.

Pence began his response to the question by relating to his own family, and shared that his uncle was a police officer in Chicago.

“Police officers are the best of us,” Pence said. “They put their lives on the line every single day. Let me say, at the risk of agreeing with you, community policing is a great idea. It has worked in the Hoosier state. We fully support that.”

Pence went on to say that Trump and him want to ensure that law enforcement “has the resources and tools to be able to really restore law and order, and for the cities and communities in this nation.”

In response to Kaine’s criticism of stop-and-frisk, Pence said:

“Law enforcement in this country is a force for good. They are people who put their lives on the line everything will day,” he continued. “I would suggest to you, what we need to do is assert a stronger leadership with the national level to use the — to support law enforcement.”


Pence said he and Trump would focus on securing the border, building a wall there and enforcing immigration laws specifically against criminal aliens.

“That’s the order you should do it,” Pence said.

He also criticized Clinton and Kaine’s approach.

“Hillary Clinton wants to continue the policy of open borders, amnesty, catch and release, sanctuary cities, all of the things driving wages down in this country, senator, and also too often, with criminal aliens in the country, it is bringing heartbreak.”

Kaine responded by bringing up Trump’s previous comments on building a wall.

“He’s trying to fuzz up what Donald Trump has said. No, he said we’re building a wall, he said they will all be gone,” Kaine said, referring to the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“Donald Trump proposes to deport 16 million people, 11 million of whom are here without documents,” he said. “They want to get rid of birthright citizenship. If you are born here, they want to eliminate that, that is another 4.5 million people.”

On Russia & Vladimir Putin

Kaine and Pence argued intensely about Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. Kaine criticized Trump for praising Putin.

“You’ve got to be tough on Russia, so let’s start with not praising Vladimir Putin as a great leader,” Kaine said. “If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, you need to go back to a fifth grade civics class,” he also said.

Pence called Putin a “small and bullying leader.”

“The small and bullying leader of Russia is not dictating terms to the United States,” Pence said. “We have got to be able to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.”

Pence went on to call for U.S. military strikes against Russian ally, the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, if Assad’s regime attacked the rebel enclave around Aleppo.

“The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength,” Pence said. “The United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime.”


Both Kaine and Pence have strong feelings on their personal faith. Kaine is Catholic, and Pence was raised Catholic but became an evangelical Christian in college.

Kaine said he tries to practice his religion “in a very devout way,” but does not feel his views should be imposed above others.

“I don’t believe in this nation, a First Amendment nation where we don’t raise any religion over the other, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone,” he said.

He spoke about struggling with enforcing death penalty as Virginia governor.

“I had to grapple with that when I was running for governor, and I was attacked pretty strongly because of my position,” he said. “I looked the voters of Virginia in the eye, and said, ‘I am not going to change my religious practice to get one vote, but it will uphold the law.’ And I was elected, and I did. It was very difficult to allow executions to go forth.”

Kaine also said he believes choices like abortion should be for women to decide for themselves. Kaine said he and Hillary Clinton both “really feel like you should live fully, and with enthusiasm, the commands of your faith. But it is not your role as a public servant to mandate them for everyone else.”

Pence discussed the role of religion in his personal life and how it has shaped his political views ― noting that it guided his belief that abortion should be outlawed.

“I appreciate and I have a great deal of respect Sen. Kaine’s sincere faith,” he said. However, Pence said the “principle of the sanctity of life” is fundamental to his beliefs.

“I tried to stand for the ancient principle of the sanctity of life. I am also very pleased that Indiana became the most-adoption state,” Pence said. “But what I can’t understand is Hillary Clinton — how she can support a process like partial-birth abortion.”

Pence said his faith informs his life.

“It all begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of all human life,” Pence said.

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