Recapping the 2016 vice presidential debate

Julio Cortez
Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence shakes hands with Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine during the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Tuesday night’s first and only 2016 vice-presidential debate consisted of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, and Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, interrupting and talking over each other and moderator Elaine Quijano.

“Gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other,” Quijano said after Pence and Kaine exchanged arguments about Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns up until this point.


Kaine said Hillary Clinton told him she chose him as her running mate because of his broad experience.

“And that’s what I bring to the ticket: that experience, having served in all levels of government,” Kaine said.

Pence said his lifetime of experience qualifies him to be vice president and next in line for the presidency.

“I would hope and frankly I would pray to be able to meet that moment with that lifetime of experience,” Pence said.

Concerns over Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Citing a poll in which 60 percent of voters said Clinton isn’t trustworthy, Quijano asked Kaine why so many people distrust her.

Kaine said he trusts Clinton because she’s been passionate about serving others for her entire career.

“That’s a sharp contrast with Donald Trump,” Kaine said. “Donald Trump always puts himself first.”

Quijano also asked Pence why 67 percent of voters think Trump is a risky choice.

“Donald Trump has built a business through hard times and through good times. He’s brought an extraordinary business acumen. He’s employed tens of thousands of people in this country,” Pence said. “There’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton and that’s because they’re paying attention.”

Economic plans

Pence said he and Trump plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and lower taxes for working families and small businesses.

“Donald Trump and I have a plan to get this economy moving again just the way it worked in the 1980s; just the way it worked in the 1960s,” Pence said.

Kaine said he and Clinton’s economic plan includes five components: investing in clean energy jobs, investing in the U.S. workforce by providing tuition-free college for families making less than $125,000 per year, raising the minimum wage, promoting small business growth and lowering taxes for middle-class families while raising them for higher-income families.

“On the economy, there’s a fundamental choice for the American electorate,” Kaine said. “Do you want a ‘you’re hired’ president in Hillary Clinton, or do you want a ‘you’re fired’ president in Donald Trump?”

Law enforcement and race relations

Both candidates expressed support for building bridges between communities and law enforcement.

“Build bonds of understanding, and then when people feel comfortable in their communities, that gap between the police and the communities they serve narrows,” Kaine said. “And when that gap narrows, it’s safer for the communities and it safer for the police.”

Pence also criticized the idea of institutional racism in law enforcement.

“We’ve got to ensure the public that will have a full and complete and transparent investigation whenever there’s a loss of life because of police action,” Pence said. “But Senator, please, enough of this seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement broadly by making of implicit bias every time tragedy strikes.”


Pence said Trump’s immigration plan will end illegal immigration “once and for all.”

“Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to continue the policies of open borders, amnesty, catch and release, sanctuary cities — all the things that are driving wages down in this country, Senator.”

Kaine said Clinton’s plan is based on comprehensive immigration reform.

“Hillary and I want bipartisan reform that will put keeping families together as the top goal,” Kaine said. “We’ve done well by absorbing immigrants and it’s made our nation stronger.”

Role of faith in public service

Pence said his faith became real to him when he made a commitment as a freshman in college to follow Jesus Christ.

“And I have tried to live that out, however imperfectly, every day of my life since,” Pence said. “With my wife at my side, we have followed a calling into public service where we have tried to keep faith with the values that we cherish.”

Pence criticized Kaine for supporting pro-choice laws, despite personally holding pro-life views.

“I know, Senator Kaine, you hold pro-life views personally, but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me,” Pence said. “It all for me begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life.”

Kaine, who is Catholic, said he doesn’t believe in imposing his religious beliefs on others.

“I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life,” Kaine said. “But I think it is really important that those of us who have deep faith lives don’t feel like we can just substitute our own views for everybody else in society, regardless of their views.”

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