Monday night the two Vice Presidential candidates met for the first and only debate for this cycle. This was Tim Kaine versus Mike Pence and both of these guys have served in congress and as governors. These two guys are no stranger to the podium. I felt like most of the pundits and most of America that Mr. Pence was the winner. Tim Kaine was just too canned and too much of a bullet point shooter. For the most part Kaine came off like a bad power point presentation. He did answer the question about his religious beliefs contrasting with his political beliefs exceptionally well. The moderator asked each candidate to talk about a time when they had to make a political decision that was contrary to their personal and or religious beliefs. He went on to describe that he is deeply opposed to the death penalty but his home state of Virginia does have capital punishment. He had to make policy decisions than ran counter to his personal beliefs in order to uphold the law of the state for which he was governor. This was the ONLY time that Tim Kaine appeared reflective and genuine.
Debate moderator Elaine Quijano was much more “fair” than ABC’s Lester Holt. Mr. Holt served up a series a soft and fluffy questions for Mrs. Clinton whereby he went after Mr. Trump like an angry attack dog. Although many conservatives still feel that Ms. Quijano was biased towards the Democratic nominee, I felt that it was actually pretty fair. She did not do a very good job of follow-up however and numerous times if seemed she allowed Tim Kaine to bark out canned party talking points during Mr. Pence’s speaking time.
That said, Mike Pence was poised for nearly the full 90 minutes, only stumbling a couple of times and really not much of a stumble. Tim Kaine did not really stumble much either but like I said above he came off as an automaton and was completely dis-personal with the sole exception of his genuinely warm and reflective answer to the aforementioned question about politics and personal beliefs.
Mike Pence was warm and genuine throughout the entire debate. All though he did stutter a couple of times as he was gathering his thoughts, he never came off as unprepared and did a masterful job of dancing around some of Donald trumps difficult to defend gaffes during this election cycle and really was smooth enough to pull it off every time save for once where the moderator and Mr. Kaine called him out on it.
Unlike the first debate with Hillary sending Donald Trump on wild chases controlling him at will for nearly two-thirds of the debate, Tim Kaine was not able to keep Pence off message at all.
This Sunday night at 6pm PDT Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off again. This time it is a town hall format debate and Trump should be well matched up against Hillary in this format. Hillary is not a good debater but she is still better than Trump. However she is better behind a podium than she is with John Q. Public. Hillary is about as personable as a rabid badger with hemorrhoids. Mr. Trump is very comfortable in the Town Hall format. He still has to be careful as many questions will come for the public and some could be from opposition voters asking tough questions. Mr. Trump has to avoid a tirade and he has to show some control. In the first debate, he really fell apart in the second half with regards to self-control.
Trump needs to bag this debate to stop the bleeding in the polls. He needs to LISTEN to his advisors and learn to pivot rather than defend all the time. Stay out of the rabbit hole Donald.