Now to last night’s once-off debate between vice presidential candidates Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence. While voters may have tuned in to meet the number twos, all the verbal parrying was about the number ones. NJTV News Correspondent David Cruz reports on the fact-checkers and Wednesday morning quarterbackers.
Cruz: It was an undercard that drew undercard numbers ratings-wise. About half of last week’s presidential debate. Also, not quite as exciting. Sen. Tim Kaine spent most of his time trying to tie Gov. Mike Pence to every controversial thing Donald Trump has ever said. And Mike Pence tried to make Hillary Clinton look soft on crime, immigration, abortion and a lot more. Here’s a quick sample:
Kaine: Six times tonight I have said to Gov. Pence I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next.
Pence: Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy.
Kaine: Then why did Donald Trump say that?
Pence: We just never would.
Kaine: Why did he say that?
Pence: Look, he’s not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton and so…
Kaine: Well I would admit that’s not polished thought.
Pence: Things don’t always come out exactly the way he means, but I’m telling you about the policy in the administration would be.
Kaine: Great line from the gospel of Matthew: “From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Kaine: When Donald Trump says women should be punished or Mexicans are rapists and criminals or John McCain’s not a hero, he is showing you who he is.
Pence: Senator, you whipped out that Mexican thing again.
Kaine: Can you defend it?
Pence: There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives.
Kaine: You want to use a big … brush against Mexicans?
Pence: He also said, “And many of them are good people.” You keep leaving that out of your quote and if you want me to go there, I’ll go there.
Pence: We mourn with those who mourn. We grieve with those who grieve. And we’re saddened at the loss of life. But Hillary Clinton actually referred to that moment as an example of implicit bias in the police force. When she was asked in the debate a week ago whether there was implicit bias in law enforcement, her only answer was that there’s implicit bias in everyone in the United States. I just think what we ought to do is we ought to stop seizing on these moments of tragedy. We got to assure the public that we’ll have a full and complete and transparent investigation whenever there’s a loss of life because of police action. But senator, please, enough of this seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement broadly by making the accusation of implicit bias every time tragedy occurs.
Cruz: So if the guiding tenet of VP debates is “first do no harm” then both Pence and Kaine succeeded by not really moving the needle in either direction. The second “top of the ticket” debate is scheduled for Sunday night.