Vice Presidential Nominees Tim Kaine, Mike Pence debate issues, not personalities

Stuart Smith

Tuesday night, Vice Presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine took the stage at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. The debate was moderated by Elaine Quijano, an anchor on CBSN and correspondent on CBS News.

Leading into the debate, a RealClearPolitics poll average had Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leading opponent Donald Trump nationwide 48 percent to 44 percent. An average of polls compiled by ElectionProjection had Clinton leading 44 percent to 39 percent.


Beginning the debate, both candidates explained why they support their running mate. Tim Kaine said that he was “so proud to be running with [a] strong, history-making woman . . . because of her vision.” Pence replied by saying that “the American people know that we need to make a change.”

“(I hope that) Tim Kane talks about women’s issues,” said Colorado State University Democrat Rebecca Rathburn.

Allie Ruckman, another CSU Democrat, said that this debate was important because “people are so tired of the Presidential election.” She felt that it would be “less about publicity and more about this issues.”

When the candidates were asked why people distrust both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Kaine and Pence spoke over each other and attacked the other’s running mate.

“Trump always puts himself first. He built a business career . . . off the backs of the little guy,” Kaine said.

Pence replied by saying the reason people distrust Clinton is, “because they’re paying attention.”

Next, the candidates spoke about cutting Social Security, an important safety net for the nation’s elderly.

Kaine said that the Clinton administration would “never engage in a risky scheme to privatize social security.”

Pence replied that a Trump presidency would “meet our obligations to seniors (and) to medicare.”

However, Pence did not give away any details of a plan.


When asked if police are worked too hard in the United States, and how they would heal broken relations between police and their communities, the two candidates had wildly different answers.

Kaine answered by saying that, “the way (to) make communities safer and the way you make police work safer is (by) community policing.”

Pence, replied by stating that, “we’ll have a full and complete investigation whenever there is a life lost due to police action.”

Next, the debate took a step back in order to look at a more international issue: if the world is safer or more dangerous than it was when Barack Obama took office 8 years ago, and how each candidate would deal with terrorism.

“There’s only one candidate who can [beat terrorism], and that’s Hillary Clinton,” Kaine said. “(Trump) can’t even start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot.”

Pence replied by acknowledging that while Obama did lead the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, “our main threat today is ISIS,” which is why he believes the world is less safe now.

In a question directed at Governor Pence as to why Russian President Vladimir Putin would have respect for a Trump-Pence administration that he doesn’t have for the Obama administration, Pence simply replied with “strength.”

The final question of the night how each candidate would work to heal the divide that this election season has created.

Kaine focused on Clinton’s track record of “working across the aisle,” and working closely with Republican congresspeople throughout her career to “get things done.”

Pence replied by saying that “the American People want to see us standing tall on the world stage again . . . they want to see an American comeback.”

Post-debate, politically active students had several comments on the 90 minutes of debate.

Carson Black, a freshman democrat, said that she believed “Tim Kaine did a really nice job of getting his points across” and that “Pence did not defend Trump’s ideas.”

Another student, Annaliese Cole-Weiss, complimented the debate in regards to the previous Presidential debate.

“(I) thought it was a more effective debate than the Presidential debate because it was way less drama and about the character than about the issues,” said Cole-Weiss.

Carson agreed and said it was more civil.

“In certain issues they could come to an agreement that ‘yes this needs to be fixed,” Carson said.

Sunday, Oct. 9, Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be back and debating again in the second of three Presidential debates, hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and ABC co-anchor Martha Raddatz, at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.

Collegian reporter Stuart Smith can be reached at or on Twitter @notstuartsmith.