Farmville (Virginia): Democratic Senator Tim Kaine aggressively challenged his rival Mike Pence who calmly dodged and sidestepped criticism of some of his running mate’s policies and demeaning comments, with media declaring the Republican Governor as the winner of the first and only vice presidential debate here, reports PTI. The moderator, Elaine Quijano of CBS News, had to intervene from the very start of the 90-minute debate on Tuesday night, as the two vice presidential nominees interrupted each other at regular interval. In fact, at times Quijano had a tough time in controlling Kaine, 58, and Pence, 57.
An unflappable Pence won the night – with 48 per cent of those who watched it saying he had the best night, compared to 42 per cent saying Kaine won, according to a CNN/ORC poll of debate viewers. Pence, who was more prepared in his answers than Trump was in his first presidential debate, outlined a detailed agenda on tax policy, entitlements and immigration.
“You and Hillary Clinton would know a lot about an insult-driven campaign,” Pence said, highlighting Clinton’s relentless criticism of Trump.
“At a time when literally, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as the secretary of state, where she was the architect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we see entire portions of the world, particularly the wider Middle East, literally spinning out of control.
“I mean, the situation we’re watching hour by hour in Syria today is the result of the failed foreign policy and the weak foreign policy that Hillary Clinton helped lead in this administration and create,” said the Indiana Governor.
“The newly emboldened – the aggression of Russia, whether it was in Ukraine or now they’re heavy-handed approach…,” said the calm and cool looking Pence as he was interrupted by Kaine, who appeared to be on the attack from the beginning.
“You guys love Russia. You both have said…,” Kaine interrupted as Pence tried to complete his sentence “…their heavy-handed approach.”
“You both have said — you both have said Vladimir Putin is a better leader than the president,” Kaine jumped again. The debate was kicked off by Kaine as he responded to the first question. While Democratic presidential nominee Clinton has dedicated her life for public service and for the betterment of the people of the country, her Republican rival Donald Trump has always put himself first, he said.
“Trump always puts himself first. He built a business career, in the words of one of his own campaign staffers, ‘off the backs of the little guy’. As a candidate, he started his campaign with a speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals,” he said, adding Trump has pursued the discredited and outrageous lie that President Obama wasn’t born in the US. “I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult-driven selfish ‘me first’ style of Donald Trump,” Kaine, the senator from Virginia, alleged. “The thought of Donald Trump as commander in chief scares us to death.”
Kaine attacked Trump on his tax returns and the New York Times report according to which in 1995 he showed a massive business loss of nearly a $1 billion. “His tax returns showed he went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code just the way it’s supposed to be used. And he did it brilliantly,” Pence said.
“Trump has brought an extraordinary business acumen. He’s employed tens of thousands of people in the US,” he said. Kaine said the terror threat facing the US has decreased in some ways because Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is dead and the Iranian nuclear weapon programme has been stopped.
He, however, slammed Trump for having no plans to combat terrorism and “trash-talking” US military and its generals.
He said Trump only has “dangerous ideas”, which include trash-talking the military and calling it a “disaster”.
Kaine said Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can beat terrorism because she has got a plan to do it.
“She was part of the national security team that wiped out bin Laden. We have a plan to defeat ISIS. We have to keep taking out their leaders on the ground. Just as Clinton was part of the team that got bin Laden, she will lead the team that will get ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” he said.
Kaine said that “most dangerously”, Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons.
Pence responded by saying it looked like Kaine had worked on his speech on terrorism “for a long time” as it contained very “creative lines”.
“America is less safe today than it was the day Barack Obama became president of the US. It is absolutely inarguable. We’ve weakened America’s place in the world…mostly it’s been a lack of leadership,” he said, adding that America’s “primary” threat today is ISIS and the country is “back at war” in Iraq.
On immigration, Pence said Trump has laid out a plan to end illegal immigration once and for all in this country.
During the debate, he described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a bullying leader and said the only way to counter such an attitude is to strengthen the US military.
“We’ve just got to have American strength on the world stage. When Donald Trump becomes president of the US, the Russians and other countries in the world will know they’re dealing with a strong American president,” Pence said.
“Strength. Plain and simple,” he said when asked why would Russia respect US under a Trump Administration. Pence’s Democratic rival was quick to remind him about Trump’s praise for Putin and said, “Clinton has the ability to stand up to Russia in a way that this ticket does not.”
Pence said that the “weak and feckless foreign” policy of Clinton as secretary of state and US President Barack Obama has awakened an aggression in Russia that first appeared a few years ago with their move in Georgia, now their move into Crimea, now their move into the wider Middle East.
The country needs to be tough on Russia, asserted Kaine.
Results of debate released by Tweeter showed that Pence was talked about 60 per cent of the time, while 40 per cent went to Kaine. During the debate, Pence gained 22,000 new followers, while Kaine got 15,000 new followers.