Kaine and Pence Face Off, Taking Aim at the Top of the Ticket

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 10.06.28 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Good Wednesday morning.
The vice-presidential debate between Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana was a 90-minute festival of barbs that was more contentious than had been expected.
Vice-presidential debates rarely affect the election, and it is not clear that this will be an exception. Mr. Kaine and Mr. Pence focused most of their shots on the other party’s presidential nominee. Their respective records — Mr. Kaine is a former governor — almost never came up. Yet the debate was a reminder of how distorted the 2016 presidential race has been.
By midnight, the consensus among pundits was that Mr. Kaine had achieved the needed strategic goals. Mr. Pence, who is widely seen as a presidential contender in 2020 if Donald J. Trump loses, performed effectively and he may have enhanced that prospect.
Mr. Kaine repeatedly interrupted Mr. Pence, appearing hyperactive at times, particularly compared with the smooth and calm Indiana governor, a former conservative talk-radio host who prepared extensively — and traditionally — for his moment. Mr. Pence often appeared to get the better of Mr. Kaine, particularly early on.
But Mr. Kaine stuck, if unevenly, to a clear strategy to hammer at two points: Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax returns, a partial version of which were printed by The New York Times on Saturday, and Mr. Trump’s myriad controversial statements about Muslims, immigrants and women. Mr. Kaine repeatedly invoked Hillary Clinton; Mr. Pence frequently avoided mentioning Mr. Trump.
At several points, Mr. Pence flatly denied that Mr. Trump had said the things he had, a risky prospect for his own political fortunes. For the most part, Mr. Pence avoided responding directly to Mr. Kaine’s jabs at all and sought to turn the focus to Mrs. Clinton.
Within an hour, Mrs. Clinton’s Twitter account retweeted posts noting how little Mr. Pence did to actively defend Mr. Trump.
The question is, how will Mr. Trump — who does not like seeing people praised as outperforming him, and who places a high premium on being defended — react?
Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence participate in the Vice Presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on October 4, 2016

Doug Mills/The New York Times

No. 2 candidates always use their debates to promote and defend the top of the ticket, but the face-off came after a week of outbursts from Donald J. Trump.

Senator Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence, with the moderator Elaine Quijano, at the start of the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

At his debate with Senator Tim Kaine, Mr. Pence seemed to decide that all of the fires that Mr. Trump set in the past year could not be doused in a single night.

Reporters for The New York Times fact-checked the statements made by Senator Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence during Tuesday’s face-off.

Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

Walter F. Mondale, the country’s 42nd vice president, chatted with us via emails throughout the debate.

Gov. Mike Pence, Donald J. Trump’s running mate, during the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Tuesday. Critics praised his temperament in response to questions from his opponent, Senator Tim Kaine.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Critics noted Mr. Pence’s steady demeanor in response to Tim Kaine’s barrage of questions and provocations.

Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, left, and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, his Republican rival, during the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday in Farmville, Va.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

The two No. 2s in the 2016 race engaged in a snippy, but conventional, tit-for-tat exchange, with Mr. Pence largely sidestepping Mr. Kaine’s attacks on Donald J. Trump.

On the Trail

​The day after their debate, Mr. Pence has events in Virginia and in Pennsylvania, while Mr. Kaine is off the trail.
Mrs. Clinton will attend a women’s leadership forum in Washington, D.C., andMr. Trump has two rallies in Nevada.
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana at the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday.

Kaine and Pence’s Debate: AnalysisWe analyzed the only vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence in real time.

South Main Street in Farmville, Va., the town that will host the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday between Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.

A Debate Stage in Virginia, With Racial ‘Scar Tissue’ as the Backdrop


Farmville, the site of Tuesday’s vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, has links to progress and setbacks in the civil rights movement.

Donald Trump outside the New York Stock Exchange after the listing of his stock in 1995.

Nailing Down Trump’s Taxes


David Barstow and Susanne Craig explain how they cracked open the biggest story of the campaign, overcoming nagging doubts to nail down Donald J. Trump’s tax returns.

Donald J. Trump during a meeting with energy executives in Denver on Tuesday.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Some legal experts point to a 2001 Supreme Court case in which justices ruled in favor of a radio station that broadcast a surreptitious recording.

John Astin as Gomez Addams.

The patriarch of TV’s “The Addams Family” was called a “failure at failing” by his wife. That means he, like Mr. Trump, might have been able to report taxable income of less than zero.

Hillary Clinton attended a campaign event at a community center in Haverford, Pa., on Tuesday.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Since last week’s debate, Mrs. Clinton has brought attention to Donald J. Trump’s history of making disparaging remarks about the appearance of women.

Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, campaigned in Hudson, N.H., on Tuesday.

Jim Cole/Associated Press

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire found herself apologizing for praising her party’s presidential candidate as an exemplar for youth.

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Democrats are more likely than Republicans to care deeply about climate change and to believe that it is mainly the result of human activity.

Jose Roberto and his wife, Alejandra, who asked that their last names not be used because of his legal predicament, at home in San Francisco. A federal judge recently ruled in Jose’s favor in his immigration case.

How U.S. Immigration Judges Battle Their Own Prejudice


More than 250 judges attended anti-bias training in August as part of a Justice Department initiative to reduce bias in deportation proceedings.

What We’re Reading Elsewhere

The Pew Research Center looks at data and previous vice-presidential nominees to try to answer, “What kind of person runs for vice president?”
Politico details the candidates’ approaches to early voting, saying that “in the critical phase of the campaign where roughly a third of the vote was cast in 2012, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are following the same playbooks that got them this far.”
The Washington Post reviews Gary Johnson’s terms as the governor of New Mexico, writing that state lawmakers “recall a chief executive who would speed through meetings and often preferred to discuss his fitness routine than focus on the minutiae of policymaking,” and who “are not surprised that Johnson’s lack of interest in the fine points of governing has led to some high-profile stumbles in his Libertarian candidacy for president.”