I can’t help but think back to January 2005, when I started a political blog called “Raising Kaine,” the goal of which was to “raise Tim Kaine to the Virginia governor’s mansion.” Now, 11 years later, Kaine is going to be debating before a national/international audience right here in Virginia for Vice President of the United States, with the election just 34 days away. Amazing…
By the way, where we stand right now in this race is as follows: FiveThirtyEight.com’s “Now-Cast” gives Clinton/Kaine an 81.4% chance of winning; The Upshot (NY Times) says Clinton/Kaine have an 80% chance; and the Princeton Election Consortium has it between 85% (random drift) and 91% (Bayesian). Not too shabby, but I won’t be comfortable until it’s at 100% and the election is over!
P.S. See the comments section for photos. Also see below the video for some notes by yours truly about the debate.
10:32 pm: Question on divisive campaign. Kaine says Clinton/Kaine are running “stronger together” campaign, Trump is running extremely divisive campaign. Pence says this is a challenging time in the life of our nation, fails to mention Trump’s role in making it that way. Segues into standard, 100% false Republican rhetoric on “war on coal,” “stifling regulations,” blah blah blah. In sum, Pence tells huge lies with a smoothness that makes him scarier than Trump in some ways.
10:23 pm: Kaine talks about balancing faith and public policy, working with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, tries to practice his religion in his personal life. Also believes in First Amendment, shouldn’t raise one religion over another. Hardest struggle was the death penalty, which personally opposes but Virginia has as a punishment. When Kaine was running for governor, he was attacked strongly on this issue, the attack didn’t work. Pence says it’s a “wonderful question,” can’t wait to hear him talk about his persecution of LGBT people in Indiana. Hmmmm. Pence cites the “sanctity of life,” “non-abortion alternatives,” of course doesn’t mention his anti-LGBT extremism. Kaine says this is a fundamental question, both Hillary Clinton and he are deeply religious, but it’s not the role of the public servant to mandate your own beliefs for everyone else. Clinton/Kaine support Roe v Wade, let women make their own decisions, “we trust American women,” don’t think women should be “punished” as Trump said. Pence wants to repeal Roe v. Wade, let states pass criminal laws to punish women who terminate their pregnancies. That’s the LAST thing government should do. Pence claims Trump/Pence would never support laws to punish women who get abortions, yet Trump SAID THAT. Pence – “you whipped out that Mexican thing again.” WTF??? Kaine – why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women?
10:21 pm: Kaine says a Commander in Chief has to take action to protect the United States. Just did a sanctions package, working together with China, against North Korea. Clinton understands that we have to work with China. Trump owes about $650 million to banks, including Chinese banks.
10:18 pm: Pence attacks the Clinton Foundation. Kaine says the Clinton Foundation is one of the highest-rated charities in the world, provides AIDS drugs, helps American deal with opioid overdoses, does an “awful lot of good work.” Clinton as Secretary of State acted in the interest of the United States. The Trump organization is “octopus-like,” has “tentacles all over the world,” puts money into the pockets of Donald Trump and his children, will only know what’s really going on with it if Trump releases his tax returns.
10:16 pm: Pence answers question about North Korea by claiming we need to “rebuild our military,” even though our military is BY FAR the strongest in the world. Basically Pence’s policy position is to thump his chest and talk really macho. So pathetic.
10:09 pm: Kaine says Trump praises Vladimir Putin all the time, had a campaign manager with ties to Putin. Kaine says a lot of this could be solved if Trump would release his tax returns. Pence laughs, as if it’s all a big joke. Pence says American system superior to Russian system “in every way,” yet Trump has repeatedly praised Russian and Putin. Kaine says “go to the tape.” Trump and Pence have repeatedly lavished praise on Putin.
10:05 pm: Kaine lists the many accomplishments of Obama and Clinton that Pence doesn’t want to acknowledge. Kaine asks, can you defend Donald Trump’s claims? Pence keeps dodging. Pence doesn’t like the fact that Kaine boycotted Netanyahu’s outrageous speech to Congress. Kaine keeps repeating that he can’t imagine Pence defending what Trump has said, and Pence keeps declining to defend Trump. Pathetic.
9:58 pm: Question about Aleppo. Pence talks generally about “strong leadership,” no specifics of course, huge mistake to bring up Russia/Putin – Trump’s BFF. Pence says we need to meet Russia’s provocations with American “strength,” including “military force.” Kaine supports humanitarian zone in northern Syria. Points out that Trump has repeatedly praised Putin, has business dealings with Russian oligarchs, Pence said Putin is a better leader than Barack Obama, even though Putin has run the Russian economy into the ground, is a dictator, etc. Kaine says Trump avoiding paying taxes, essentially Trump refused to pay for rebuilding NY City, help first responders, support the fight against terror, support the troops. Pence claims Trump supports the troops, except he won’t pay taxes to support them. Pence says “we just need American strength” (no idea what that means exactly). Again, Pence can try to pretend over and over against that Trump hasn’t said what he’s said, or that it’s all a big joke, but that doesn’t change reality.
9:55 pm: Kaine – “alliance are critical,” which is why Trump saying “NATO is obsolete” is “so dangerous.” All Pence can do is shake his head, smirk, look pained, mumble “that’s not true” (even though it is). Pitiful. I mean, basically Pence is laughing incredulously at stuff that Donald Trump himself said!
9:51 pm: Now Pence is dodging the question about how most of the terrorists here in the US have been by HOME-GROWN terrorists, not immigrants. Does Pence EVER answer a question straight-up? Kaine says Trump/Pence would violate the constitution, the key is keeping out people who are dangerous, Trump said keep them out if they’re Muslim. Yesterday, an appelate Trump struck down the Pence plan. Note that Pence still hasn’t answered the question. Kaine: “we will vet refugees based on whether they are dangerous,” NOT based on what religion or what country they come from. Trump/Pence plan is both un-American and unconstitutional. Pence is getting his butt kicked, just waaaaay out of his league against Kaine, it’s almost sad.
9:46 pm: Kaine says Clinton has a plan to defeat ISIL and proceeds to explain it. Also notes that Clinton was “part of the team that got Bin Laden.” Kaine says Trump can’t start a twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot. Trump doesn’t have a plan, but he “does have dangerous ideas,” “trash talks the military,” wants to “tear up alliances,” “loves dictators,” “believes that the world would be safer if more nations had nuclear weapons.” Pence, of course, can’t refute anything Kaine said, so turns to his standard b.s. about America supposedly being “less safe today.” Totally false, but whatever. No, Mike Pence, our primary threat today is not ISIS, that’s just not true. In fact, they are in the process of getting their butts kicked right now. My god, does Pence believe the crap he’s spewing out on the Iran deal?
9:38 pm: Pence now talking hard-line idiocy on immigration, claims Trump “has a plan” for “illegal immigration.” Pence tries to claim that Kaine QUOTING Trump means that Kaine is running an insult-driven campaign. In other news, hot is cold, up is down, black is white, war is peace…my god. Kaine wonders if Trump will ever apologize for the things HE said about women, African Americans, etc? “You will look in vain.” On immigration, Kaine says he and Hillary Clinton believe in comprehensive immigration reform, Trump believes in “deportation nation.” “Donald Trump proposes to deport 16 million people” and get rid of “birthright citizenship.” Kaine can’t believe Pence is defending Trump’s “deportation force” proposal. Pence uses the word “amnesty,” another ridiculous Republican talking point. Pence now dodging question about how 16 million people would be removed from the country. Pathetic. Kaine says Pence is trying to fuzz up what Trump said – “they will ALL be gone.” Just to watch the video and see what Trump said. Kaine – “We are a nation of immigrants…it’s made our nation stronger.” Kaine notes that Trump insulted a “Hoosier judge.”
9:36 pm: Pence is simply speaking utter nonsense at this point, basically don’t question anything police do – ever. Kaine references Sen. Tim Scott (R) making that “eloquent plea” about implicit bias. Kaine references disgusting things Trump has said about women, Latinos, John McCain, African Americans, birtherism, etc, etc. You can’t have somebody at the top who demeans every group he talks about. Can’t believe Pence would defend Trump’s insult-driven campaign.
9:28 pm: Question about police officers. Kaine says we have put a lot on police’s shoulders, points to his experience in Richmond fighting crime. Says Virginia cracked the top-10 “safest states” when he was governor. Talks about the importance of community policing. Talks about the shootings at Virginia Tech and the “scourge of gun violence.” Pence says “police officers are the best of us.” Agrees with Kaine on community policing. Pence says, “enough of this seeking every opportunity to demean law enforcement.” Kaine says Pence is afraid to even have the discussion of implicit bias, which of course is a very real thing. Kaine talking about Philando Castile, disproportionate sentencing for blacks and Latinos. Kaine says we absolutely need to talk about this. Kaine says he can’t believe Pence is claiming there is no bias at all.
9:25 pm: Kaine says he’ll protect Social Security, one of the greatest programs the government has ever done, has enabled people to retire with dignity. Pledges to never, ever engage in a risky scheme to privatize Social Security. Pence was the chief cheerleader for the privatization of Social Security. Ouch. Pence uses the Reagan line “there you go again,” but of course Pence is no Ronald Reagan. Kaine basically says look at the facts, “you have a voting record,” “I can’t believe that you won’t defend your OWN voting record.” Kaine notes that the debt explosion under Trump would be far, far worse than anything under Clinton’s plan.
9:21 pm: Pence keeps going back to the “more taxes,” “more spending” standard GOP bull**** line. I mean, what else does he have? Kaine points out 16 million new jobs under Obama, while Pence keeps claiming things are HORRIBLE. Pence keeps avoiding talking about Trump’s taxes. Forced to address it, he says that Trump faced some “pretty tough times 20 years ago,” still not answering question. Kaine keeps asking, “how do you know that?” Pence keeps ignoring, because of course he doesn’t have an answer. Kaine notes that Trump PROMISED to release his taxes and has not done so. Kaine rips Trump for claiming he was “smart” not to pay taxes, must mean the rest of us are all “stupid.” Note that Pence never answered the question.
9:16 pm: Pence bemoans the national debt, of course doesn’t mention that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush exploded the debt, while Bill Clinton left office with a budget surplus. Details, details. Pence claims that Clinton/Kaine want “more of the same war on coal” (note: there’s no “war on coal,” just the need to slash CO2 emissions to deal with climate change, which Pence doesn’t “believe” in.) Basically, Pence’s entire narrative is factually incorrect – laughably so. Kaine asks if you want a “you’re hired president” in Hillary Clinton or a “you’re fired president” in Donald Trump. Kaine notes that Pence voted against raising the minimum wage above $5.15. Kaine also correctly notes that Trump/Pence would give trillions in tax breaks for the super rich, would cost the economy millions of jobs. Kaine says Trump won’t show his tax returns.
9:12 pm: Pence’s lips are moving, which again means he’s lying, this time on the world supposedly “spinning out of control” (false) due to Hillary Clinton (false). Pence claims Trump has “extraordinary business acumen.” Kaine says he’s paid no taxes and lost $1 billion in a year.
9:10 pm<: Kaine explains why he trusts Hillary Clinton, does that quickly then segues to going after Trump. “Donald Trump always puts himself first.” Says Trump has pursued “discredited” and “outrageous lie” that Barack Obama was not a citizen of the United States, can’t imagine how Pence can defend that. “I can’t image how Gov. Pence can defend the insult driven, me-first style of Donald Trump”
UPDATE 9:08 pm: Pence’s lips are moving, which means he’s lying. Also pretty sure he called Longwood U. “Norwood.” Whatever. Yes, Pence has a “lifetime of experience,” the problem is it’s almost all bad experience…no thanks!
UPDATE 9:05 PM: Kaine proud to be running with Clinton, “stronger together.” Kaine says he brings experience of serving at all levels of government (city council, Mayor, Lt. Governor, Governor, US Senate). Says he trusts Hillary Clinton with his military son’s life. “The thought of Donald Trump as Commander-in-Chief scares us to death”