Spotlight shifts to vice presidents in debate

Nicholas Hunter

Tuesday night saw the first and only debate between Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

The event took place at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, with the two men and the moderator, CBS News anchor Elaine Quijano, seated together at a table, offering a different atmosphere than the presidential debate last Monday.

It did not take long for the debate to intensify. Both candidates accused each other’s running mate of running an ”insult-driven campaign,” a phrase initially used by Kaine, but used throughout the debate by Pence.

The candidates were asked to offer thoughts both on their own ideals and the expectations they have for their respective presidential nominees.

When asked about their economic plans, Pence spoke of the success he had in keeping Indiana out of debt, and the job growth the state saw with him as governor. He questioned Kaine on the increase in national debt the U.S. has seen in the Obama administration, saying that Kaine and Clinton look to facilitate “more of the same.”

Kaine responded by detailing a “You’re hired” plan for Clinton, that would create more jobs through clean energy projects, reforming tax laws to better help out middle class people and small business owners, and working toward equal pay legislation and increasing the minimum wage. Pence responded by saying that the plan would bring two billion dollars of more debt to the nation, and cause taxes to go up.

Pence was then asked about Trump’s statement that it makes him “smart” to not pay taxes. He defended the Trump by saying that “he’s a businessman, not a career politician,” and that Trump worked within the system to create a thriving business.

Pence was asked to give his thoughts on The New York times report that Trump lost over $900 million in 1995. He said that “(Trump) faced hard times 20 years ago.”

Pence and Kaine took very different approaches when speaking to the viewers.

Pence used a lot of emotion in what he said. He referred to terrorist attacks as “tragedies” and called the death of soldiers “heart breaking.” Pence made a noticeable effort to look directly at the camera, to make eye contact with the viewers.

On the other hand, Kaine came ready with statements made by Trump, such as his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, his stance on expanding nuclear weapon possession in certain countries and punishing women who get an abortion. He demanded that Pence defend his candidate.

Pence often shook his head as Kaine asked about these statements, and called him out for furthering an “insult-driven campaign.” He eventually said that Trump says much of what he does because “he’s not a polished politician.”

One noticeable trend in the debate was the number of times each candidate was interrupted another, and how many times they either ignored or dismissed the moderator, Quijano.

Heated exchanges and shouting matches were frequent in the debate, and Kaine seemed eager to interrupt Pence at times. Pence did a fair amount of interrupting himself. Bt as the debate went on, he began to wait until Kaine finished speaking to offer a rebuttal.

The point where the most respect was found between the two was when issues centered around religion were brought up.

Kaine focused on his issues with the death penalty, saying that he fundamentally disagrees with the practice, but said that “the doctrines of one religion should be mandated for everyone.”

Pence looked to the issue of abortion, saying he fights with great passion to protect “the sanctity of life.”

Neither candidate interrupted the other during that portion of the debate.

With the spotlight on the two vice presidential candidates, Kaine displayed his enthusiasm and knowledge for the job he hopes to take on. Pence showcased his calm, level-headed demeanor that many may see as a good balance to Trump’s excited and passionate voice.

Catch the next presidential debate Sunday at 9 p.m.

NIcholas Hunter is a columnist, contact him at [email protected]