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Column: Pence, Kaine face off in VP debate

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Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine at the Vice Presidential Debate. Courtesy: CSPAN screenshot

By Matthew C. Rios – Collegiate Staff

Vice Presidential Candidates Mike Pence (R) and Tim Kaine (D) met for the only debate that will be held by the vice presidential candidates Tuesday night.

The debate was a 90-minute table format moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News. Topics ranged from policing to ISIS.

Both candidates were jovial and respectful to one another as they disagreed. In contrast to the top of the tickets, a few laughs were shared. And while they talked over one another as both men vied for control of the narrative, both candidates remained calm.

The candidates spent most the night defending, or attacking the presidential candidates. Indiana Governor Pence was asked to answer for Donald Trump’s statements about minorities, women, immigration and tax history. Virginia Senator Kaine was taken to task for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s  email controversy and record as secretary of state.

Kaine spoke of Clinton’s history of public service and dedication to the American people, while Pence touted Trump’s years and success in the private sector.

On the issue of Trump’s 1995 tax forms leaked over the weekend, Pence said the document showed a rough financial time in his candidate’s past and his ability to continue on to build his business.

Both candidates promised to honor the social security system and keep the funds solvent. Kaine accused Pence and Trump of desiring to privatize the program. Pence called the accusation a scare tactic.

On the issue of policing, both candidates agreed that more positive interaction within communities was needed but disagreed in respects to police bias. Pence held that broad brushing police was not productive while Kain retorted that ignoring the bias was also not productive.

CNN is reporting in an instant poll that 48 percent of people think Pence won the debate, while 42 percent think Kaine took the victory.

Vice Presidential Candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine shake hands after the debate. Courtesy: CSPAN screenshot
Vice Presidential Candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine shake hands after the debate. Courtesy: CSPAN screenshot Courtesy

Pence and Kaine offered nothing new, really, in regards to the issues. Each defense and attack we have seen the campaign’s surrogates and candidates already address. What both candidates brought to the conversation was likability. Both Pence and Kain are likable guys with experience and sprinkles of folky charm. The two men arguing looked liked your polite dad disagreeing with your polite stepdad. Both candidates represented their camps well and adhered to the first rule of the vice presidency: do no harm.

The debate was a solid exchange of ideas and cander befitting people running for the second highest office in the country.