Vice presidential debates are inconsequential. I was going to skip writing about this one. But Tim Kaine was so wired and so weird last night that I must slow down long enough to gawk at the collision.
He kept interrupting like some attention-grabbing nutball.
Now we have had some terrible vice presidential candidates. Look at the 1992 debate. Dan Quayle came off as sharp as a bag of bowling balls, and James Stockdale entered the event by saying, "Who am I? Why am I here?" Things were so bad that the winner that year was Al Gore, who thinks carbon dioxide is a poison. He's photosynthesis-phobic.
Stupid, we can put up with. But nuts? That's why McGovern dumped Tom Eagleton after the Kennedy family leaked that Eagleton had undergone electric shock therapy. Kaine's kooky behavior last night contrasted with Pence's presidential performance, giving a voters a glimpse into the personnel policies of the people at the top of the ticket. Hillary hires political hacks. Trump hires the competent.
The strategy, according to Byron York, was this:
"He stood up for the ticket," said campaign manager Robby Mook. "He stood up for their platform. He defended Secretary Clinton's record against relentless attacks from Mike Pence."
Sure, they had to say that. But what also came out after the debate was that Democrats believed exposing Trump's controversial remarks to a wide audience was so important that it was worth turning some people off. So yes, maybe Kaine was over-amped. But he still got the word out, with tens of millions watching.Yes, Kaine got the word out, as if voters had not heard about Miss Universe and Trump's taxes blasted in the media 24/7 for the past week.
But the word was delivered by a Kaine who is kooky and after a while Miss Universe and taking a tax write-off sounded like kooky issues to be debating. What about the economy? Immigration? Terrorism?
If Kaine is your choice for vice president, something is wrong with you, too.
From the Hill:
Donald Trump got help from an unexpected quarter on Tuesday night as Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, delivered an uneven performance in the year's sole vice presidential debate.
Stylistically at least, Trump's vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence, was the clear winner of the encounter, held at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. His superiority was especially clear in the early stages. Pence was steady and controlled in those crucial moments while Kaine interrupted and appeared overly aggressive, even to independent observers.From McClatchy:
Focus group members Tuesday found that Pence seemed comfortable with his responses, a contrast to Kaine.
“He seemed even-tempered, knowledgeable,” said Joshua Lee, 29, an Arlington research assistant and independent. “Kaine’s tone was too aggressive.”
Sara Leming, 23, a graduate student and a Democrat from Arlington who backs Clinton, found Pence too often didn’t answer questions, but Kaine was “somewhat annoying to watch.”From the Washington Post:
Someone must have told the Virginia senator he needed to always be on his front foot in the debate, always be the aggressor. It didn't work. Kaine started the debate talking so quickly and trying to load so many Trump attacks into every answer that it made it virtually impossible to grasp any one attack. In the middle of the debate, Kaine seemed to relax into it — delivering an effective attack on Trump's comments on women. But that Kaine was the exception, not the rule. When he wasn't trying to stuff 10 pounds of attack in a five-pound bag in his answers, he was relentlessly interrupting Pence. Every single time Pence started to level an attack against Hillary Clinton, Kaine immediately began to talk over him. I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not, but it didn't come across well — at all. One glaring example: As Pence was recounting his personal experience on Sept. 11, 2001, Kaine interrupted to say, "I was in Virginia." Um, okay. Not a good look.These remarks are from the Establishment Publications, you know: Camp Clinton.
Ex-Tim Kaine staffer turned strong Donald Trump supporter, Christian Rickers, told Breitbart News exclusively that former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence easily won Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate.
“Kaine should have been himself. I don’t know what the Clintons have done to him. I thought Pence won the debate. It made me very sad,” Rickers told Breitbart News. “I’ve never seen him like that. It’s not the Tim Kaine I know. I can’t believe it. Is that what we have been reduced to? Win at all cost and bring out the hatchet?”So at some point Kaine was sane.
Not last night.
Did voters care?
From Breitbart News on a CNN Poll:
Almost 30 percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for Trump after watching the debate, while just 18 percent said they moved toward Clinton. An original image broadcast by CNN of the numbers of debate watchers that moved toward voting for Clinton or Trump after watching the vice presidential candidates were reversed, showing more moving toward Clinton; however, a CNN reporter corrected the numbers after they had been posted to the screen and revealed that the true result. More than half of debate watchers surveyed said “neither” when asked who the debate made them likely to vote for.We shall see.
But Kaine has given something for Trump to build upon.
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