By Felicity Bosk
SUPERIOR- The presidential candidates chose their running mates this summer, and in their first and only debate viewers got the chance to get to know these two men. Though as viewers would find out, they spent little time talking about themselves and instead argued about their running mates.
Tim Kaine is the democratic senator of Virginia and is running alongside Hillary Clinton. Mike Pence is the governor of Indiana and the running mate of Donald Trump.
The first blunder of the night came from Pence who thanked the wrong University for hosting the debate. Kaine had an awkward moment when he said one of his most obviously prewritten lines: "do you want a "you're hired" president, or a "you're fired" president?" Kaine also cited several times that Clinton was responsible for negotiating the Iran nuclear arms deal, but Clinton was not Secretary of State or a member of the government during that time.
Kaine did a good job of wording his questions in a way Pence would have to answer them. Pence did a good job avoiding defending his running mate directly. When Kaine said "I am interested to hear whether he’ll defend his running mate not releasing his taxes and not paying taxes," Pence responded by saying Trump is a business man and not a polished politician like Clinton. "But why won’t he actually release his tax returns?" Kaine asked. "We’re answering the question about the business thing," Pence responded.
Kaine on multiple occasions quoted some of the worst things Trump has said. "[He] called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He’s called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting...I can't believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run." Later, Pence said "if Donald Trump had said all the things you said he said, in the way you said he's said them, he still wouldn't have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of our supporters were a basket of deplorables." Kaine's response to this was that Clinton apologized for her negative statement, but Trump has never apologized directly for the things he said.
Another back and forth was on the subject of nuclear weapons. Kaine quoted Trump about how he thinks more nations should have nuclear weapons.
He asked Pence "do you think we should have more nuclear weapons in the world will make it safer?"
"Senator, Ronald Reagan also said nuclear war should never be fought because it could never be won. And the United States of America needs to make investments in modernizing our nuclear force for both deterrence and - "
"But can you defend Donald Trump’s claim that more nations should get nuclear weapons?"
"Let me go back to this Iran thing. He keeps saying that they prevented -- that Hillary Clinton started the deal with the Iranians prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."
And so on they talked over one another.
The moment that had viewers laughing out loud came after moderator Elaine Quijano said "I'd like to ask now about North Korea, Iran and the threat of nuclear weapons. North Korea recently conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test."
It did not take long for this to turn into a bicker match for the Clinton Foundation vs. the Trump Foundation. As well, Pence brought up the email scandal that has plagued Clinton's candidacy. After going back and forth on these matters for a number of minuets, Quijano said to Pence "Governor, I will give you 30 seconds to respond, because I know you want to, but, again, I would remind you both this was about North Korea."
Most of the first three quarters of the debate were spent on things like this. It was hard to hear at times since they talked over one another. Pence was well composed and spoke clearly throughout the time. There were many times when Kaine talked you could tell it was rehearsed as he stumbled on his words to say the exact right thing. Nothing either of them said gave us new information, really. Rather they bickered on the same old things, but this time it was on live television, making it something of a spectacle.
Many polls and news outlets say that Pence won the debate. In my view, debates have no winners because it is not a contest. Debates are the chance for the American public to understand the candidates as people, not ads on TV or road signs. As far as this debate goes, this endeavor was achieved but more so as a form of entertainment an something truly informative.