With the dawn of a new day we can see one thing clearly, Tim Kaine went into the debate with one mission: force a week of rehashing and relitigation of basically every lie, crazy idea and toxic rant we’ve heard from Donald Trump over the last year and a half. Whether he made ignore the attack, deny the attacks or agree with the attacks didn’t really matter. As it happened, he got one and two. Here’s the Clinton campaign’s rapid response video lining up every Kaine claim, Pence denial and Trump video saying it. It’s a classic Pence Said, Videotape Said thing. Everybody now digs into to see who’s telling the truth.
All this said, Pence did pretty well too. I’m still uncertain whether Pence went in with a plan to toss Trump overboard or whether that’s more how it came out in the moment. To the extent it was planned, Pence’s mission seemed to be a simple message to GOP stalwarts: Do you see how good I could be if I weren’t running with this jackass? The response from high profile Republicans seemed to be: We see, and it’s killing us.
The fact that Pence got frustrated and created the “Mexican Thing” meme is is just an additional benefit for the Clinton campaign.
Pence has a decent amount to be happy about this morning. There are things conservatives can take heart from – largely finding someone in the campaign to feel good about. But none of them are things that do anything good for them in 2016. On that front, Kaine won pretty much hands down.