Wednesday snap poll declares Pence winner of VP debate

Viewers say Kaines nice guy" image tarnished

Kevin Lamarque—Reuters
Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine (L) and Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence shake hands as they arrive for their vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville

FARMVILLE, Va. – The television audience for Tuesday’s vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine is expected to be 40-50 million, according to early U.S. media reports on Wednesday. The Hollywood Reporter, citing preliminary Nielsen and network data from the four main U.S. broadcasters, said the debate scored a 13.2 household rating. That would translate into a total TV audience of around 51 million – about the same figure for the 2012 vice presidential encounter – when the numbers from cable and other channels are included later in the day. CNN calculated that the final audience would be in the 40-50 million range. Last week’s first encounter between White House contenders Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton was watched by a record 84 million TV viewers.The debate is getting kudos from both sides saying it highlighted substantive policy differences between the candidates discussing foreign policy, immigration, and abortion, among other topics. Pence’s calm, controlled demeanor struck a strong contrast to Kaine’s interruptions and passionate focus on messaging, according to an Ohio focus group run by Republican pollster Frank Luntz."Kaine came off as a jerk — and I like the guy!" #VPDebateMy focus group is on @CBSNews right now:— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 5, 2016
Kaine worked to make the vice presidential debate all about Donald Trump, calling the Republican presidential nominee a danger to U.S. national security and someone who denigrates women and minorities and appears to pay little in federal taxes.A CNN/ORC snap poll declared Pence the winner with 48 percent support, compared with Kaine’s 42 percent. The debate between Kaine and Pence was the only such encounter between the vice presidential contenders. DEBATE PROTOCOLWhile the candidates tried to get out their message on issues and each other, viewers said another point captured their attention. Kaine and moderator Elaine Quijano are getting criticism on social media for the number of times Kaine interrupted Pence or stepped on his time unchecked. During the debate, Quijano admonished both vice presidential nominees for repeatedly interrupting each other.’Gentlemen, the people at home can not understand either one of you when you speak over each other,’ said Quijano, a digital reporter with CBS News.Kaine, who was ribbed early on for his “dad” image and was tapped by Clinton for his likability, interrupted Pence or the moderator at least 70 times, according to the political news and statistical analysis website one point he used a Ronald Reagan quote to call Trump a ‘fool or a maniac’, generating a rebuke from Pence: ‘That’s pretty low, even for you.’FOREIGN POLICY TAKES SPOTLIGHTTheir bickering was so intense that they frequently talked over each other as Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia, tried to frighten voters away from Trump, while Pence, the Indiana governor, portrayed her as untrustworthy for the White House. and accused Clinton of bungling foreign policy as Obama’s secretary of state, with large sections of the Middle East “literally spinning out of control.”Kaine, in a line that was clearly rehearsed, repeatedly sought to persuade Pence to defend Trump’s positions. He reminded the millions watching on television that Trump was enmeshed in a public feud with a former beauty queen last week, and he pointed out that Trump had praised Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kaine said Clinton would be tough in dealing with Putin.”Donald Trump, again and again, has praised Vladimir Putin. And it’s clear that he has business dealings with Russian oligarchs who are very connected to Putin,” Kaine said.However, Pence took a harder line with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin than Trump had in the past, taking the opportunity to lay responsibility for the “Russian reset” at Clinton’s feet, saying she was had been outfoxed when she attempted a U.S. reset in relations with Russia when she was Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.”The small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States.The greatest nation on earth just withdraws from talks about a ceasefire, while Vladimir Putin puts a missile defense system in Syria,” Pence said. “The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength,” he said, and that if Russia chooses to continue to be involved in “barbaric” attacks on civilians, “the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime.”Democrats were quick to point out the discrepancy between Trump and his running mate on Russia.”All of a sudden we hear tough talk about Vladimir Putin. It’s the exact opposite of what Donald Trump has been saying,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.Trump himself earlier in the day condemned Russian bombing in Syria after the United States withdrew from ceasefire talks with Russia. Conservatives who do not support Trump liked Pence’s view.”Pence’s foreign policy is fine. Too bad it isn’t Trump’s,” tweeted Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine.However, those close to the campaign say that Pence’s role as vice president may be the most influential of any to hold that position in history. In the search for tapping a running-mate the Trump campaign said they wanted someone who could take a hands-on leadership role in foreign policy. Pence’s performance Tuesday showed promise to Republican.But Kaine’s overarching objective was to hammer home that Trump has refused to release his tax records. The New York Times reported last weekend that Trump had taken a $916 million tax loss in 1995 and may have avoided paying federal taxes for 18 years because of it. “Governor Pence had to give Donald Trump his tax returns to show he is qualified to be vice president. Donald Trump has to give his tax returns to show he is qualified to be president,” Kaine said. Pence, who has a low-key style compared to Trump’s signature bombast, said Trump as a New York real estate developer had created thousands of jobs and had used U.S. tax laws as they were designed to be used. “Why won’t he release his taxes?” Kaine fired back.The debate sets the stage for a second presidential debate looming on Sunday in St. Louis between Clinton and Trump, who needs to rebound from a rocky performance from his first debate, one that gave Clinton a boost in national opinion polls with Election Day only five weeks away.