Liveblogging Kaine-Pence

Update: CNN focus group of undecideds thought overwhelmingly that Kaine won. Pundits think otherwise. Go figure.

Bottom line: Betting odds didn’t move. We’ll see if anything changes over the next couple of days. But I think what just happened was that an other potentially significant event went by with no gain for the side that, going in, was trailing rather badly.

That’s a -30-.

Quick conclusion:I’d heard that Pence was stupid. Couldn’t have guessed that from his behavior tonight. Hard to recall a better defense of an indefensible position. Kaine about lived up to expectations. Scored some points, but no knock-out. On the other hand, Kaine was mostly telling the truth, and Pence mostly lying, about matters of easily ascertainable fact. So the question is whether either the media or the Clinton campaign make him pay a price for saying that he’d never praised Putin’s leadership when in fact he did.

10:34 How would you bring the country together? Kaine: Clinton worked across the aisle. Republican Senators speak well of her. After election today, you have to work together. Pence: Let me talk about how to bring us together by trashing some Demorats. “Change.” “American comeback.” “Resilience.” “Stand together.”  Doesn’t actually said Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer.”

10:27 Faith v. public policy. Q to Kaine. I’m a devout Catholic, but I shouldn’t try to make my faith the test of everyone else’s actions. I’m opposed to the death penalty, but I’d taken an oath and signed the death warrants.  Pence: pro-life is pro-adoption. Partial-birth abortion. Hyde Amendment. No acknowledgement of any limit on how much of his faith he ought to impose on others. Kaine strongly defends right to choice. Quotes Trump on punishing women for abortions. Pence denies Trump believes what he says. Kaine: “Why don’t you trust women to make those choices for themselves?”

10:17 North Korea. (And yes, we’re going to get through one more debate without mentioning global warming or economic development or infectious disease or or or or or …)

Pence says “peace through strength.” Clinton Foundation. Accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments. Trump’s Russian dealings are “baseless rumors.”

Kaine defends Clinton Foundation on its record and its accomplishments. Moves to Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation. Cites Trump’s sons for the claim that the Trump Organization does business as Russia. Bondi bribe: Trump University.

Pence: “Less than 10% of the Clinton Foundation budget goes to charitable causes.” 33,000 emails.

Q to Kaine: Would you pre-empt a North Korean nuclear strike on the U.S.? Ans.: You’d need to defend yourself, details to be determined case-by-case. Need to work with and against China. Trump owes money to the Bank of China.

9:59 Q to Pence. Syria. Pence blaming Clinton for being too weak on the “small and bullying leader of Russia.” (No, seriously.  Heard it myself.) Rebuilding our military. More ships. More troops. Back to Aleppo. “Safe zones.” “Provocations by Russia need to be met by American strength.” We should be willing to use American military force to strike Syrian targets.  Missile defense shield (???).

Kaine: Yes, security zone. Clinton can stand up to Putin. Trump admires Putin. Quotes Trump. Points out that Trump had to fire his campaign team to get rid of the Russian connection. If you can’t tell a leader from a dictator, you need fifth-grade civics. Not paying taxes is not supporting the troops.

Pence: The weak and feckless foreign policy of Obama and Clinton has awakened the Russian bear. “We just need American strength.” Can’t answer the question about how the safe zones would be kept safe. No-fly zone. Weak and feckless again.

Kaine: What would make the world really dangerous is for more nations to have nuclear weapons. Pence’s fee-fees are hurt. “That’s even beneath you and Secretary Clinton.” Back and forth on the Iran deal. “Ransom payment.”

Pence denying that Trump ever said that other countries should get nuclear weapons. Kaine back on Trump’s dealings with Russia. Pence now denying that Trump has said virtually anything that he ever said.

Q to Pence: Trump says Putin doesn’t respect Obama. Why would he respect Trump? “Strength.” Weak and feckless again. Now Pence denying that Pence said what Pence said about Putin.  Pence is a much more convincing liar than Trump, but there’s tape on all of this.


9:52 Q to Pence: extreme vetting won’t get at home-grown terrorism. What are you going to do about that? Pence goes back to extreme vetting. Suspend the Syrian refugee program. Moderator tries to re-ask the question.  Pence keeps ducking. Kaine points out that the Court of Appeals just struck down Pence’s plan as unconstitutional.  Kaine insists on danger rather than religion or national origin as the basis for vetting. Pence: “can’t know for certain,” so keep ’em all out.

Q to Kaine: What in the hell is an “intelligence surge”? Hiring more experts, partnering with private cyber-security. Alliances are critical. That’s why it’s a bad idea to say “NATO is obsolete.” Pence says cyber-warfare is warfare. Private server.  Yelling back and forth about the FBI investigation. Moderator drowning.

9:47 Terrorism. Better or worse? Kaine: better in several ways, worse in others. Bin Laden again. al-Baghdadi is next. Shared intelligence. “Donald Trump can’t start a twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot.” Accuses Trump of “trash-talking the military,” admiring tyrants, promoting more countries getting nuclear weapons. Quotes Trump “Go ahead folks, enjoy yourselves.”

Pence: We’re less safe. Weakened place in the world. (Keeps ducking Kaine’s challenge to defend Trump’s nonsense. Back to blaming Hillary for not negotiating the SOFA that Bush failed to negotiate. Accuses Clinton and Obama of losing Iraq after it had been won. Sacrifices “squandered.” Iran deal.

9:40 Immigration. Should non-criminal aliens be deported? Pence denounces “open borders” and “amnesty.” Points to ICE union’s endorsement of Trump. Accuses Clinton of running an “insult-driven campaign.” “Basket of deplorables.” Kaine points out that Hillary apologized for “deplorables,” while Trump has never apologized to anyone. Back to immigration: “bipartisan immigration control” v. “deportation nation”: going “house to house, school to school, business to business,” to deport 16 million people. Pence denounces “amnesty.” “A nation without borders is no a nation.” Asked about deportation. Ducks. “The focus has to be on criminal aliens.” Never says what he’d do about the rest. Once the wall has been built, then he’ll think about it. Kaine quotes Trump: “They will all be gone.” Defends a nation of immigrants. For the third time mentions Mexicans-as-rapists and Judge Curiel. Pence doesn’t respond.

9:30 Finally a smart question: Are we asking too much of the police? Kaine points out that Richmond reduced homicide rates by half when he was Mayor. Talks about community policing. Denounces militarization and stop-and-frisk. Mental health care reform. Gun control. This is my home area, and if I’d been writing his answer it would have been about the same. Far more sophisticated than you’ll hear from most politicians.

Over to Pence. His uncle was a cop in Chicago. He loooooooooves cops. Likes community policing. (Yes!) Now back to “law and order.” Fraternal Order of Police. Denounces any mention of “implicit bias” or “systemic racism.” (That would surprise every police chief I know.) “Stop seizing on these moments of tragedy.” (As if his running-mate didn’t do so constantly.)  Kaine points out that bias is real. Pence says since one police shooter was black, that couldn’t have reflected bias. (No, he really said that.) Moderator cites Sen. Scott, Pence backs off. Pence says he’s all for “criminal justice reform.” Accuses Clinton of “assuming the worst” about people in law enforcement. Doesn’t play the Willie Horton card. Defends stop and frisk. Kaine segues into all the Trump bigotry, ending with birtherism.

9:26 Fresh idiotic question from the moderator, assuming that “the Social Security fund is going to run out of money” in 18 years.

Kaine defends Social Security, denounces Social Security privatization. Wants to raise the payroll tax cap.

Pence says he and Trump are committed to “meeting the obligations” under Social Security and Medicare. Says Democratic plans would leave the country “drowning in debt.”


9:17 New idiotic question from the moderator, assuming that “the national debt” is a problem. Pence brags about his record as governor, slams Kaine as a tax-raiser. War on coal. Says Clinton wants to expand Obamacare into single-payer. (Pretty sure that’s a lie.)  Pence does a solid job of presenting Trumpism without the Trumpish hysteria.

Kaine contrasts “you’re fired” with “you’re hired.” Brings out a reasonable-sounding laundry list. Hits Trump on “Wages are too high” and Pence on opposing minimum wage increases. Blames Great Recession on Bush tax cuts for the rich, which is clearly false. Says if Trump “kept his promise” and released his tax returns, we’d see that Trump’s plan was “Trump first.”

Moderators asks Pence about Trump’s non-payment of taxes. Pence changes the subject. Says everything is terrible. Kaine says it isn’t, cites statistics. Pence dismisses “the numbers” and appeals to the feelings of people in Scranton and Ft. Wayne. Says Trump built a business and NOL is just hunky-dory. Kaine cites Trump’s claim that not paying taxes was “smart,” asks whether that makes everyone else stupid.

Moderator desperately trying to keep control.




9:05 pm First question, an intolerable nothing-burger: “What makes you qualified to be President if the need arises?” Kaine launches into his stump speech, leading with the story of a school boycott lead by a schoolgirl 65 years ago, near the venue of the debate, that led to Brown v. Board of Education. Says he has a kid in the Marines and he trusts Hillary as Commander-in-Chief but the thought of Donald Trump in that role “scares us to death.” Pretty strong opening.

Over to Pence. Attacks “the last seven-and-a-half years.” Has he looked at Obama’s job performance numbers recently? (+11 in the Gallup tracker, +17 on CBS.)

Moderator asks the idiotic “Why do people distrust Hillary?” question, singling out emails and the Foundation. Kaine was sitting on that pitch, knocks it out of the park. Turns the question to Trump’s trustworthiness: Mexican rapists, birtherism.

Pence gets the other version of the same question: Why do “Americans” find Trump untrustworthy? Pence goes to “failed foreign policy,” answering neither half of the question. Blames “Russian aggression” on Obama/Clinton.  Kaine interrupting. Mentions Trump’s “spectacular business career.” Turns back to Clinton Foundation.

Kaine ready with a strong defense of foreign policy, starting with “Are you aware that when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, Osama bin Laden was alive?” Exchange to Kaine on points, I would say.






The excitement is unbearable. But the RNC feels your pain. Two hours before the debate, Team Rience put out a Tweet saying “The consensus was clear after the dust settled, Mike Pence was the clear winner of the debate.” To renew my offer: I’ll stop calling the Republicans “Orwellian” when they stop using Nineteen Eighty-Four as an operations manual.

Stand by.

Daily Beast offers a good question for Pence: Indianapolis has a higher murder rate than Chicago. Why haven’t you been able to change that?

Here’s mine: Why did you write an article saying “Smoking doesn’t kill?”

Watching CNN. Trump spox A.J.  Delgado seems to be saying that voters should ignore Trump’s crazy Tweets.  As a good a strategy as any, I suspect.


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

17 thoughts on “Liveblogging Kaine-Pence”

  1. When Pence said that Trump has created thousands of jobs, Kaine needed to say, "So he has. He just hasn't paid people to do them."

  2. Thanks for doing this, Mark. After hearing Pence's opening statement, I couldn't stomach any more. And I suggest that you take a good swig of Pepto-Bismol now.

  3. Consensus seems to be that Pence shaded it, but Trump was the big loser because Pence seemed to contradict many of his policies e.g. about Russia and Syria.

    Pence more shaping up for a 2020 run, acknowledging 2016 as a dead loss?

  4. I stood it for about half an hour.

    Pence was certainly calmer during that time, but his smarmy lying really annoyed me.

    I think the format was very bad. Two minutes each to answer, and then six minutes for "discussion?" That's just an invitation for the candidates to spend the six minutes yelling empty talking points at each other. Nothing much actually gets discussed.

    And I share the frustration that no one seems to want to discuss climate change.

    1. It looks as if Hurricane Matthew may be interested in Florida, so maybe the debate on the 9th will recognise the issue.

      1. You know, I don't want anything complex.

        I just would like one of these moderators to ask,

        "Do you think climate change is a serious threat, and if so then what policies do you think are best to deal with it?"

        That's all.

  5. So Pence was lying? That's what Hillary wants you to think, but where's the evidence? Surely, you're not referring to the ad that Hillary somehow managed to produce in the wee hours of the morning that shows Pence saying that Trump didn't say what Kaine said he said with a split screen showing Trump (supposedly) saying the very thing that Kaine said he said. How is this even possible, unless Hillary already had the ad ready to go in accordance with a plan set out beforehand? Otherwise, how could she know Pence was going to "lie"? Well, obviously, she knew no such thing, but by giving Kaine fake Trump quotes that she knew Pence would deny because they're fake, she could then use fake videos created by her bosom-buddies Putin and Assange and L'il Kim in North Korea to "prove" Trump said things that he totally didn't say. This is not rocket science – it's far easier to create fake videos than fake moon landings.

    Despite the best efforts of Hillary's lapdogs in the lamestream, split-screen, scream–queen media, the truth will come out. Millions already know. And soon, they'll know that the Latina "moderator" (how moderate could she be if she maliciously attacked Pence by asking him questions the throughout the debate?) was using Spanish sign language to clue Kaine in on the questions and answers, just as Lester Holt used baseball signs to coach Hillary in her debate.

    You're welcome.

          1. It's Poe's law, which is also the reason I couldn't tell if you were agreeing with me or really thought that Brett was back. I guess I have to either make the parodies funnier or give up. (I gave you an upvote to take away that zero, if that helps.)

          2. I do understand Poe's law, but it's not that your parody wasn't funny (it was) but that it was too real. 🙂

            Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

            And the up vote 🙂

          3. If the worst casualty resulting from the Trump campaign is the death of parody, I guess we have to consider that a plus, but only because the minuses are so horrifying.

      1. I'm not sure whether this was intended as a serious accusation or merely as a swipe at Snideissue, but for the record Brett is no longer posting here, and it's out of line for anyone to invoke his name in a forum where he can't respond.

        1. Neither. It was an attempt at matching humor (which clearly failed) from someone who had no idea Brett had stopped posting.

  6. Bless you for hanging in their. I had to turn it off after about 10 minutes.

    I just wish Canada had more liberal immigration laws.

  7. Pence ducked a question about how to deal with homegrown terrorism. Trump ducked a similar question during the presidential debate. ("Tell us specifically how you prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens.") I continue to be bewildered by the way so many people on the right view terrorism not as a problem to be solved, but as an opportunity to advance their political agendas, whether that agenda is invading Iraq or bashing immigrants.

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