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A recap of the vice presidential debate

October 5, 2016

On Tuesday night, the vice presidential candidates Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine participated in their only debate for the 2016 election. The debate, moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News, took place at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

The candidates spent most of their time defending and supporting their running mates and attacking their opponents. Both Kaine and Pence brought up important issues regarding the presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and Donald Trump’s temperament. Kaine referenced the concept of an “insult-driven campaign,” which he used to describe Donald Trump’s campaign and which Pence used as a counterattack to describe the Clinton campaign’s advertising and debate tactics.

The debate covered some of the same topics discussed in the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump including immigration, foreign policy, taxation, minimum wage and law enforcement. The candidates attempted to clarify the points their running mates made about these issues. Despite the attempt at clarification, some issues and the positions of candidates regarding these issues were not discussed. For example, the Republican position on LGBT issues like same-sex marriage was not clarified despite confusion stemming from Trump’s vow to protect to the community during his RNC speech and his choice of Pence, who passed Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Act while he was governor, as his running mate.

Yet, other issues not included in the presidential debate surfaced during the event, most significantly, abortion rights. Kaine argued the pro-abortion rights side, citing that personal religious views should not dictate law, while Pence argued for anti-abortion beliefs. Many consider Pence the winner of the debate due to his strong defense of Trump, alongside Kain’s continual interruptions of Pence.

While this was the only debate between the vice presidential candidates, their running mates face off two more times before Nov. 8. The next presidential debate is on Oct. 9 and will take place at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

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