Pence won the debate by a landslide. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
It was on the topics of policing, immigration and women that the difference between the men and their campaigns was made most clear. Both men told personal stories of the national divide across policing. Implicit bias was the lightning rod for the discussion. Kaine spoke of community policing and building bonds of understanding while Pence seemed annoyed with the topic and impatiently attempted to dress down his opponent by saying enough of seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement broadly by making the accusation of implicit bias every time tragedy occurs. A frightening reality check for minorities.
On immigration, Pence offered more thinly veiled hate with too often with criminal aliens in the country, its bringing heartbreak. If only Kaine had challenged him right then and there. As the debate went on, Kaine grew stronger, relying less on prepared statements and messages, and listening and responding in real time.
In the words of Kaine: From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks … Donald Trump is showing you who he is. Pence speaks the same, only prettier and more practiced. Let us not be fooled.
Jamie Weinstein: Pence kept his cool and won by a landslide
Kaine attempted to act like a bulldog Tuesday night but instead came across as a nipping chihuahua.
The senator from Virginia entered the first and only vice-presidential debate intent on making the mild-mannered Pence defend his running mates most outrageous statements. But unlike Trump, Pence apparently isnt prone to chasing shiny objects.
Constantly interrupting Pence and speaking at a mile a minute, Kaine tried for the life of him to get Pence to discuss Trumps racist attack on Indiana Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Trumps proposal to ban Muslims, Trumps praise of Vladimir Putin, Trumps call to deport all illegal immigrants, and so on and so forth. Whatever the accuracy of Kaines attacks on Trump and make no mistake, they were often accurate Kaines style was excessive. By throwing out so many issues in one breath, he made his rhetorical assault hard for viewers to follow. He also made it easy for Pence to ignore him with a shake of the head a nonverbal there you go again.
Kaines constant I know it all interruptions might be considered the 2016 version of Al Gores groans. It made him come across as a thoroughly unlikable figure.
By contrast, Pence was calm and cool. He methodically hammered home the Trump campaigns positive themes lets get Americas economy moving again, lets put American workers first, lets bring back American jobs, lets project strength in the world, America needs change.
Sure, these are broad themes, but presented in Pences confident manner, they resonate. Like Kaine, Pence had his share of canned lines. Unlike Kaine, he was able to deliver them in a way that made them appear sincere and sometimes even heartfelt. Performance matters.
Pence won the debate by a landslide, and its hard to imagine there will be many in the media who will even attempt to claim otherwise. The only question is how his running mates fragile ego will react when all those who panned his debate skills praise Pences.