By Lauren Grimaldi
Though the importance of Vice Presidential debates is up for discussion, the first and only conversation between Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence aired on Oct. 4.
The discussion between Kaine and Pence was, as expected, much more civil than what was seen between Clinton and Trump.
Debate moderator Elaine Quijano, a news anchor for CBSN, opened the night and asked the two potential veeps about how well prepared they are to handle the presidency should they need to take over the position.
Clinton’s ticket partner offered that his broad experience in public service and government qualify him for the position.
“She (Secretary Clinton) said to me, you’ve been a missionary and a civil rights lawyer. You’ve been a city councilman and mayor. You’ve been a lieutenant governor and governor and now a U.S. senator…And that’s what I bring to the ticket, that experience having served at all levels of government,” Kaine said.
Pence, who also serves as the governor of Indiana, said his upbringing in addition to his experience is what qualifies him to be president.
“If the responsibility ever fell to me in this role, (I hope) that I would meet it with the way that I’m going to meet the responsibility should I be elected vice president of the United States. And that’s to bring a lifetime of experience,” Pence said.
Next, the two politicians discussed what, in their opinion, makes Clinton and Trump the best choice to be the 45th President of the United States.
“Hillary Clinton has that passion. From a time as a kid in a Methodist youth group in the suburbs of Chicago, she has been focused on serving others with a special focus on empowering families and kids,” Kaine said.
In response to Kaine insinuating that Trump has run an offensive campaign, Pence said that Clinton was driving an insult campaign, and went on to question her time as Secretary of State. The governor specifically called out his opponent on creating a foreign policy that sent the Middle East “literally spinning out of control.”
According to Pence, voters in the United States are right to distrust Hillary Clinton.
“There’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton. And that’s because they’re paying attention. I mean, the reality is, when she was secretary of state, Senator, come on. She had a Clinton Foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments,” Pence said.
A key takeaway from the night was that Pence, when continually asked to do so, failed to defend what his running mate has said. Kaine pressed the governor on the businessman’s many offensive statements towards women and minorities. When Kaine repeatedly brought up that Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists”, Governor Pence responded “you whipped that Mexican thing out again.”
Pence also commented on the recent news that Trump did not pay income tax for 18 years.
“His tax returns — 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.
The presidential election is on Nov. 8.