Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine stood toe-to-toe for 90 minutes in the lone vice presidential debate of the 2016 election.
From the very beginning, Pence was the more comfortable of the two men on the debate stage. Pence repeatedly turned to the camera when he answered questions, making clear he understood that the real audience wasn’t in the room but watching on TV. The Indiana governor was calm, cool and collected throughout — a stark contrast to the fast-talking (and seemingly nervous) Kaine. Did Pence respond to Kaine’s dozens of attacks on Donald Trump? Only sort of. What Pence seemed to be doing was making the case for Pence-ism, a, dare I say it, compassionate conservatism — a case for Pence 2020 or 2024. Regardless, Trump will very much take it, as Pence’s performance will offer a reset of sorts for a campaign that is scrambling badly due to self-inflicted wounds from the nominee. Win or lose in 24 days, Pence did himself real good in the eyes of the Republican world on Tuesday night.