Steady Pence gets wide praise, but Kaine lands jabs on Trump

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON (AP): REPUB­LI­CAN MIKE Pence won bi­par­ti­san plau­dits for a calm and col­lected per­for­mance in the vice-pres­i­den­tial de­bate. But Demo­crat Tim Kaine was claim­ing mis­sion ac­com­plished for forc­ing his op­po­nent to con­front – or not – Don­ald Trump’s long list of provoca­tive re­marks.

Pressed by Kaine to de­fend his run­ning mate through­out the 90-minute de­bate on Tues­day, Pence mostly dodged, sidestepped or let the mo­ment pass by. He vouched for the bil­lion­aire’s tax his­tory, but was less vo­cal when chal­lenged about Trump’s tem­per­a­ment or his in­flam­ma­tory words about women and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

“I can’t imag­ine how Gov­er­nor Pence can de­fend the in­sult-driven, me-first style of Don­ald Trump,” said Kaine, the Vir­ginia sen­a­tor and Hil­lary Clin­ton’s No. 2.

Still, even Clin­ton’s team wasn’t claim­ing that Kaine had come out on top, de­spite the chest-puff­ing that usu­ally fol­lows a po­lit­i­cal de­bate. Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podesta said only that Kaine had suc­ceeded in his “strate­gic mis­sion” to chal­lenge Pence to de­fend his con­tro­ver­sial run­ning mate.

“Gov Pence was smooth, he seemed sort of like­able, but he didn’t get the job done,” Podesta said Wed­nes­day on MSNBC.

Pence, cam­paign­ing in Vir­ginia, said Trump had called him late at night to con­grat­u­late him. He said “some peo­ple” thought he had won but that “from where I sat, Don­ald Trump won the de­bate”.

Both sides ap­peared will­ing to con­cede that the only de­bate be­tween the vi­cepres­i­den­tial can­di­dates was un­likely to al­ter the tra­jec­tory of the race. Af­ter all, this year’s rol­lick­ing pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has been all about the pas­sion­ate emo­tions – pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive – that both can­di­dates of the top of the ticket stir up for many Amer­i­can vot­ers.

Yet for Repub­li­cans wor­ried their vot­ers won’t show up at the polls, Pence’s steady per­for­mance could help as­suage con­cerns that this year’s Repub­li­can ticket has veered away from the party’s core be­liefs. Pence, a former con­gress­man and In­di­ana’s gov­er­nor, is widely trusted by the Repub­li­can es­tab­lish­ment and the party’s so­cially conservative base.



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