The first and only vice-presidential debate 2016 was held on October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, and was hosted by Elaine Quijano.
The night was marked by Senator Tim Kaine (D)’s interruptive attacks on Donald Trump and Governor Mike Pence (R)’s taciturn counters.
The two candidates were posed the first question: what qualifications did they have, both personal and political, for the position of Vice President of the United States, with the ability and readiness to become the President at a moment’s notice if needed.
Senator Kaine gave the first response, highlighting the Clinton campaign’s focus on building a stronger, more unified nation, and how he fit into that, remarking how Hillary Clinton had come to him to ask him to be her running mate.
“I think you will help me figure out how to govern this nation,” Kaine said, “so we always keep in mind that the success of the administration is the difference we make in people’s lives.”
Governor Pence focused on the Trump campaign’s priorities of less government and government intervention, cutting taxes, regulations, and Obamacare.
He brought up his background to support his qualification for such a role, having been a small-town American turned Congressmen, stating his goal is “to bring a lifetime of experience, a lifetime growing up in a small town” to the Vice Presidency.
Both sides accused the other of running an insult-driven campaign to defame their opponent. Kaine often interrupted Pence throughout the questioning, to which the Governor responded with an even temperament. Pence did not address many of the points raised, and diverged from Trump’s position on issues, such as Russia, calling Putin a “small and bullying” leader and denying either he or Trump had praised the Russian President previously.
Both candidates gave their views on the situation in Syria, with Pence diverging again from Trump’s previously stated views, wanting to create a no-fly zone, have military force ready to keep Russia out of the area, and create ‘safe zones’ for refugees in the United States.
Kaine focused on taking action against Russia over Syria, wanting to take a hard stance to prevent encroachment and nuclear proliferation. He also supported creating a humanitarian zone.
The two were then asked about their views on their faith and its relationship to their policies,. Kaine discussed how he had had to balance his Catholic faith and the demands of his Governorship, and his death penalty enforcement despite personal faith misgivings.
“I think it is really really important that those of us who have deep-faith lives don’t feel like we could substitute our own views for everybody else in society regardless of their views,” Kaine stated.
Pence replied by stating, “ [I’ve] followed a calling in the public service where [I’ve] tried to keep faith with values that [I] cherish,” such as pushing for measures in his state of Indiana to focus on alternatives to abortion such as adoption.
When pressed on Trump’s stated intention to have Roe vs Wade overthrown by Kaine, Pence denied supporting the notion, stating Trump had said it because “He’s not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton.”
The two candidates finished out by describing how they and their running mate would unify the country after election.
Kaine stated Clinton would focus on ‘across the aisle’ compromise like she had before, seeking bipartisan work to better the people.
Pence’s response focused more on Trump being a central leader to the nation, bringing both sides together for a common goal in building the country up and “make America great again.”