Pence Dominated As Kaine Tanked

- October 5, 2016

What They're Saying About Last Night's Vice Presidential Debate


  • From beginning to end, it was clear that Gov. Mike Pence dominated the debate stage, earning high marks from undecided voters and political commentators alike.
  • Meanwhile, Tim Kaine was heavily criticized for his "constant interruptions," coming off as "a little desperate" and "too aggressive."
  • When he wasn't interrupting, Kaine gave "canned" answers, came off as "unlikeable," dodged questions on Clinton's email and foundation scandals, and was fact-checked for misleading and false statements.


A CBS Focus Group Of Undecided Voters Overwhelmingly Declared Pence The Winner Of The Debate, Describing Him As "Calm," "Polished," "Eloquent," And "Effective." POLLSTER FRANK LUNTZ: "How many of you thought Mike Pence won tonight? Raise your hands. Almost all of you, that's remarkable. Give me a word or phrase to describe Mike Pence this evening." UNDECIDED VOTER 1: "Calm." UNDECIDED VOTER 2: "Class act." UNDECIDED VOTER 3: "Polished." UNDECIDED VOTER 4: "Effective." UNDECIDED VOTER 5: "Knockout." UNDECIDED VOTER 6: "Compelling." UNDECIDED VOTER 7: "Composed." UNDECIDED VOTER 8: "Eloquent." (CBS News, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

Luntz: "Who Won Tonight's Debate? Mike Pence: 21 Tim Kaine: 4 Tie/Neither: 2 #Vpdebate" (Twitter, 10/4/16)

  • CBS News' DJ Judd: ". @Frankluntz On The #Vpdebate, Following His Ohio Undecided Voters Focus Group: "Tonight Was A Very Good Night For The Trump-Pence Ticket." (Twitter, 10/4/16)
  • Politico's Seung Min Kim: "This Post-Debate Focus Group On CBS Is Fascinating. Overwhelmingly Say Pence Won Debate." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's David Chalian Declared "Pence Won," And "Beat The Expectations Game" According To A Poll Of Debate Watchers. CNN'S WOLF BLITZER: "…this Vice Presidential Debate I want to go to David Chalian. David, we got the results from our exclusive CNN/ORC instant poll. People who were actually watching this debate share the numbers with us." CNN'S DAVID CHALIAN: "That's right Wolf. Remember this is a poll among debate watchers, this isn't a national poll among all voters and among debate watchers tonight it was as slightly Democratic advantage in the audience, slightly more Democrats than Republicans were watching tonight, and take a look at who they think won. Mike Pence, 48% say he won the debate to Tim Kaine at 42%, and as you know Wolf this is a game of expectations. So look at this, did Tim Kaine do better or worse than you expected? 43% say he did worse. 38% say he did better. How about Mike Pence, what did he do in terms of the battle of expectations? 67% of debate watchers said he did better than they expected tonight, 14% said worse. Remember, we're showing Pence won, Pence beat the expectations game, and the audience of debate watchers was actually eschewed a little more Democratic. So certainly put the W in the Trump, Pence column tonight." ( CNN, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "From The Very Beginning, Pence Was The More Comfortable Of The Two Men On The Debate Stage." (Chris Cillizza, "Winners And Losers From The Vice Presidential Debate," Washington Post , 10/4/16)

  • Cillizza: "Mike Pence Direct To Camera And Conversational = Winnng. [sic]" (Twitter, 10/4/16)

The New York Times' Mike Barbaro: "9:18 And Pence Is Dominating This Debate." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Politico's John Bresnahan: "Pence Wins The First 30 Mins Of This Debate" (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Politico's John Bresnahan: "Pence Has Won The First Hour Of This Debate." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's Andrew Kaczynski: "Pence Is Excellent At This. Experience In Broadcasting A +." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNBC's John Harwood: "Pence Is Doing Well." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's David Chalian: "Every Time Kaine Tries To Raise The Temperature, Pence Comes In And Skillfully Cools It Off." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

TIME's Zeke Miller: "Pence's Quiet Demeanor, Pauses And Verbal Ticks Convey Thoughtfulness." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

ABC's Candace Smith: "Pence Spent A Lot Of Time Prepping For This Debate. It Shows." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Politico's Rachel Bade: "Pence Goes Hard On Clinton Foundation. Smart. Good Talking Point For Rs. 'The Pay To Play Politics While She Was Secretary Of State.'" (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's Eric Bradner: "Hard-Hitting Line From Pence: 'Senator, Please, Enough Of This Seeking Every Opportunity To Demean Law Enforcement Broadly…'" (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's Dylan Byers: ""Police Officers Are The Best Of Us…" - Memorable Line From Mike Pence." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's Dan Merica: " Pence's Claim That The Clinton Foundation Accepted Money From Foreign Govs During Clinton's Sos Tenure Is True" (Twitter, 10/4/16)


Kaine Was "Unlikeable," Gave "Canned" Answers, And Drew Comparisons To Al Gore's 2000 Performance

CNN's Dana Bash: Kaine's "Frenetic" Performance "Was Kind Of All Over The Place" And Resulted In Negative Post-Debate CNN Poll Numbers. CNN'S WOLF BLITZER: "It's interesting you know Dana because Governor Pence seemed a little bit calmer than Tim Kaine did." CNN'S DANA BASH: "A lot calmer, especially at the beginning. Tim Kaine seemed almost frenetic trying to get in as much as he could with so many of the points that he wanted to get in there that he was kind of all over the place. He seemed to kind of calm down himself but never as much as Mike Pence, so there's no surprise that that's where the numbers were on that." (CNN, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

Frank Luntz: "Literally Every Time Tim Kaine Talks" His Numbers Go Down." "Literally every time Tim Kaine talks: 📉. #VPDebate" (Frank Luntz, Twitter Feed, 10/4/16)

(Frank Luntz, Twitter Feed, 10/4/16)

The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney: "CBS's #Vpdebate Focus Group Completely Hated Tim Kaine." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi: "Kaine Is So Bad At This." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

The Washington Post's James Hohmann: "Kaine Is Coming Across Like Al Gore Circa 2000. That's Problematic." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Washington Post's Abby D. Phillip: "CBS Focus Group Going Very Negative On Kaine Right Now 'He Came Across As A Jerk,' Says A Likely Clinton Voter." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

NBC's Chuck Todd: "Kaine Keeps Stepping On His Own Zingers." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

TIME's Zeke Miller: "Kaine Retreating To Canned Lines Isn't Exactly Making Him Seen Authentic." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Politico 's Edward-Issac Dovere: "Tim Kaine's Answer About What Prepares Him To Be President Seems To That He's Able To Memorize A Canned Answer." ( Twitter, 10/4/16)

Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins: "Canned Debate Zingers Are The Drug The Clinton Campaign Just Can't Quit." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

National Review's Tim Alberta: "Kaine Really Coming Off As Unlikable, Which Is Weird Because He's Known As A Likable Guy. The Interrupting-Attack-Dog Role Doesn't Suit Him." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

NBC 4's Tom Sherwood: "Key To Who Won? James Carville Not Coming On Strong For Kaine." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Kaine's "Constant Interruptions" Were "A Little Desperate"

NBC's Andrea Mitchell: The Vibe In The Post-Debate Spin Room Was That "Tim Kaine Was Too Aggressive" With "Too Many Interruptions." NBC'S ANDREA MITCHELL: "That said, we're hearing a lot of vibe her in the spin room that a lot of people feel that Tim Kaine was too aggressive. That the impression that the views had was that there were too many interruptions." ( MSNBC, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

MSNBC's Chris Matthews Criticized Kaine's Interruptions As "A Little Desperate…I Don't Know Why He Kept Interrupting." MSNBC'S CHRIS MATTHEWS: "Kaine, was a little bit, I don't know what the right word is, a little desperate there, jumping in all the time, always trying to get his points and he didn't wait his turn. Obviously, if he had just waited his turn with the back-and-forth nature of this event, he would have had his opportunity. I don't know why he kept interrupting. Because, with two people debating the other guy gets the chance to speak - he couldn't wait for that, I think that hurt him. He, on the other hand, he hit all the points. All the erogenous zones of the democratic coalition. He hit the minorities. He hit immigrants - illegal immigrants, whatever, he hit everybody. He hit Israel, a couple of times he went for Israel, that's a good one. So what he did was hit all the bases of the Democratic Party coalition, made them all feel like someone's looking out for them. But overall, I think the winner tonight will end up being, in terms of the debate and what they were trying to accomplish, Pence, because Pence looked like he was solid, he looked like he had his head screwed on." (MSNBC, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

  • Matthews: It's "Partisan" For Liberals To Claim Kaine Was A "Fighter" Because He Interrupted And Ignored The Moderator. MSNBC'S JOY REID: "But no, I think that if you are a Democrat…" MSNBC'S CHRIS MATTHEWS: "No if you're watching this for the first time…" REID: "If you're watching this for the first time, yeah, and you haven't been paying attention, but your orientation is to the left, you're going to say I like that Tim Kaine was a fighter. That is all my Twitter feed, that is on the Democratic side, they like the fact that he was a pit bull, that he went in. If you're a Republican you're going to be wistfully wishing that Pence was at the top of the ticket, because by the way, by the way Hugh, while this debate was going on, Donald Trump is going to have to watch it back. Because he was tweeting in all caps throughout the whole thing, he wasn't even watching…" MATTHEWS: "Suppose the conservative or the Republican candidate behaved like Tim Kaine tonight, would the Twitter feed, what would your Twitter people say." REID: "If it was, if it was Donald Trump that's how he behaves…" MATTHEWS: "If it was a Republican jumping in, ignoring the moderator, jumping in again and again, as if there's some sort of frisky need to speak… You couldn't wait two minutes to respond, would you be saying that... It just seems to me that's a partisan view." ( MSNBC, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

Former Obama Advisor David Axelrod: Kaine's "Strategy Of Interrupting Was Probably Overdone." FORMER OBAMA ADVISER DAVID AXELROD: "You know, I think that Tim Kaine was asked to play a role here that he isn't particularly comfortable with. Tim Kaine is a very positive, ebullient character and was asked to be kind of an attack dog here, and I think he wasn't entirely comfortable and the strategy of interrupting was probably overdone." (CNN, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

MSNBC's Joy Reid Criticized Tim Kaine's Interruptions, And Stated He Was "Rude To The Moderator." MSNBC'S RACHEL MADDOW: "…Joy Reid into this conversation. Joy, one of the things we've been talking about tonight is whether or not Tim Kaine had sort of a different more specifically Democratic base audience in mind than the overall tens of millions of people that probably watched this thing, and how you think you would judge his performance specifically tonight. Which seems there's a little bit of a divide in the room here as to how he did." MSNBC'S JOY REID: "Yeah, you know its interesting Rachel, I too was extremely distracted by the cross-talking. I thought it made it very difficult to listen to and understand what they were doing, and Tim Kaine was the more aggressive interrupter and cross-talker. I don't think that helped him. He was firing so many attacks so rapid fire and so broad at Mike Pence he was sort of losing the point. Now I came into this debate thinking that you know Tim Kaine's the guy they put on the ticket to solve their white man problem. That of course cannot be done. They're not going to do well with white male voters, but the secondary audience for him would be your white suburban voter to try to pull them over if they could. That wasn't his audience tonight. Clearly Tim Kaine came in with one mission only, fire off as many salvos at Mike Pence as he could and try to force Pence to defend Donald Trump. In that sense, if that was his goal, he was successful. Look if you're a Republican voter you probably watch, if you're an old fashioned Republican and you probably said wow that Mike Pence guy sounds interesting I wonder who he'll pick for his running mate, right. He came across as if he were the candidate. He stated his own positions on Russia, his own ideas, he defended the Mike Pence brand but if Tim Kaine's goal was to try to force him to defend Donald Trump and to force the viewer to watch him not do that, then if that was his mission he succeeded. But I think the over caffeinated presentation I think just as me watching it as a woman I thought it was sort of rude to the moderator to keep stepping over her and pretending she wasn't even there." ( MSNBC, 10/4/16)

Click To Watch

USA Today Headline: "Twitter Verdict: Kaine Interrupted Way More Than Pence" (William Cummings, "Twitter Verdict: Kaine Interrupted Way More Than Pence," USA Today , 10/5/16)

FiveThirtyEight: "Kaine Interrupted Far More Than Pence." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

The Fix's Chris Cillizza: "Tim Kaine Is Interrupting Like A Wild Man. Not Good." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

TIME Reporter Zeke Miller: "Pence's Steady Speaking Style Makes Kaine's Interruptions All The More Jarring." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

CNN's Zach Wolf: "Kaine Just Interrupted Pence's Somber 9/11 Story." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Fox News' Brit Hume: "Kaine Is Losing This Debate. He's Losing On Points To The More Articulate Pence And Making It Worse With His Constant Interruptions." (Twitter, 10/4/16)

Previous post

As Problems Persist At The VA, Clinton Maintains All Is Well

Next post

Kaine Admits Clinton Wants To Raise The Payroll Tax
Republican National Committee

Connect With Us

Republican National Committee
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
News & Videos
  • 310 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • 202-863-8500

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee.

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee.