I will admit that tonight’s debate between the two VPs was a bit better than I thought it would be. However, it wasn’t anything to write home about either. Both men had good points and both men had bad points. Both interrupted each other, and Kaine interrupted more than Pence.
As I sat and watched, my wife blurted out, “why doesn’t Pence answer any of the questions he is asked?” My wife is not a political wonk like I am. She listens when it is election time, but doesn’t necessarily follow politics every day. Still, even she noticed that Pence had a penchant of not answering the questions he was asked.
I was about to give an answer when she blurted out “is it because he is a Republican? They never seem to answer questions on any show or at any debate.” I think that pretty sums up an amateurs view of the debate.
When it came to appearance, I have to give the edge to Pence. He seemed a bit calmer than Kaine. At times I thought Kaine was on way too much coffee or those energy drinks filled with caffeine.
There was way to much talking over each other and the moderator all night. It made it difficult to even hear what they were saying. It did calm down a bit as the night went on, but it was a problem for me all night.
There are two things about Pence that needs to be pointed out. The first point is that Pence kept saying “he never said that” or “I never said that” when the whole world knows they did say that.
For example, Pence said that “unquestionably Putin has been a better leader for his country than Obama has been for our country”. That is on tape and Pence tried to distance himself from his own quote.
The one time that Pence made a good hit was when he brought up the “basket of deplorables” comment made by Clinton. Unfortunately, Kaine was able to answer with the fact that Clinton apologized for the comments. Then he asked if Trump has ever apologized for any of his insulting comments. Pence never answered.
The most disturbing thing to me was when Pence was talking about Syria and “safe zone” protection and what to do about Aleppo. He made a comment that we should be willing to face down Russia “militarily”. That is scary. Is he suggesting that we start World War III over Syria?
The other blunder to me was when he was asked what he would do if North Korea fired a missile at the United States. He said the “first thing is to rebuild our military”. Isn’t it a bit late to “rebuild our military” after a missile is fired at us? He either was too intent on sticking to his talking points or he didn’t understand the question.
The simple fact that Pence kept saying “he never said that” will give the Clinton camp plenty of clips for upcoming ads. They will be able to go after both Pence and Trump with this issue.
The second point is that Pence did not “defend” Donald Trump all that much. There were a lot of times when he needed to defend Trump he deflected the question and went on to something else.
This is supposed to be Trump’s running mate and his right hand man. Yet, he refused to show total loyalty to his top of the ticket candidate. There were times I thought he was actually interviewing with the right-wing of the party for a future run as President rather than trying to help win this election.
The moderator was absolutely terrible. Not in the way she asked the questions or tried to keep control which was difficult at best, but rather in the haphazard way the questions were asked. It was almost like she was using an alphabetic list of questions rather than trying to tie everything together.
For example there was a lot of discussion about Russia and then later in the debate, she finally actually asked a question about Russia. That should have come up when the candidates brought up Russia and not wait for it to hit the alphabetic list.
The poor “ranking” of asking questions aided to the disjointed manner of the debate. There was no cohesion and no rhythm to the questioning which made things worse.
I came to the conclusion that neither candidate was too interested in the Independent Voter. Both candidates seemed to be trying to ramp up their bases. I think that could have been because neither believed that a whole lot of people was going to be watching.
Many of the issues I wanted to see brought up were never brought up. For example, Pence is one of the staunchest anti-LGBT people in the country but Kaine never hit him on that issue. Too much was left out and that is a real shame.
My overall opinion is that stylishly Pence won the debate. However, on content Kaine won the debate. In the end, Clinton’s campaign will get more points out of the debate to hit Trump with than the other way around. That could be the real deciding fact.
The next Presidential debate is Sunday. Problem is that over the weekend Hurricane Matthew is due to hit the southeast all the way up to Virginia. Unfortunately for the candidates, that story will dominate the headlines more than the campaign.
With that in mind, it is to the benefit of the one leading when the hurricane hits. But maybe we will get lucky and the hurricane will stay off shore more and not affect the country very much.
To me this was more of a draw than anyone winning. Regardless of what you think, I don’t see this debate moving the needle very much. Now we have to wait and see if Trump can put his foot in his mouth again and subtract any thought that Pence won.