The veep debate was not what a lot of us expected.
Dem. Tim Kaine, largely praised as a gentle politician who easily worked both sides of the aisle with respect, came out early—swinging and often interrupting—to his detriment. I had not expected a student of the Joe Biden school of debate. Kaine calmed down later, but the damage was done.
The GOP’s Pence didn’t let this get under his skin—and faced with a horrible task: defending many of Trump’s indefensible positions—appeared largely calm. Dare I say he appeared (vice) presidential? As one of my fave analyst, PBS’ Mark Shields said; "don’t tell the top of the ticket.”
Pence also made one strategic point..he mentioned the “war on coal” five times. This may resonate in some key states that have coal mines, including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. While he also attacked HRC, justifiably, for possible conflicts of interest between her roles as Sec. of State and as an official of the Clinton Foundation, he didn’t hit her but once on her e-mail server issues.
Kaine consistently asked Pence to justify Trump’s many lies and distortions, which Pence tried to do, but in many cases could not—the facts are against them. When Kaine calmed down, he made a few good points and consistently raked The Donald over the coals for his tax return problems, of which there are many. Pence wiggled, but the truth is out there.
The moderator, Elaine Quijano of CBS, was simply not up to the task of keeping order, though she did have some good questions.
I would vote a split decisions, with a nod towards Kaine on substance and debate points, and a nod towards Pence for being calm, cool and vice-presidential.
But why do I sweat any decision….the Republican National Committee inadvertently sent out a news release 90 minutes before the debate started declaring Pence the winner.
I'm just sayin'...