2016 Vice-Presidential Debate, Pence v. Kaine (Longwood University): Live Blog

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

9:00PM EST at Longwood University, Farmville VA. (Man, I used to play Farmville, back in the day when I didn’t treat Facebook like the plague that it is.) That’s almost now!

Here are some “viewing options”. CBSN digital anchor Elaine Quijano is the moderator; she has not moderated a debate before. The structure is slightly different from the Presidential debates: The 90-minutes event will consist of nine 10-minute segments. Each segment will open with a question from Quijano, which both candidates have two minutes to answer. The remaining six minutes or so will be devoted to followup questions and to a back-and-forth between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine.

* * *

Both candidates are midwestern Irish Catholics; Pence converted to evangelical Christianity, and Kaine is said to have been influenced by liberation theology during his time in Honduras volunteering with the Jesuits. Both have, er, ethical challenges in their pasts (Pence; Kaine).

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Kaine and Pence might as well be Paine and Kence, they’re so interchangeable. Says the Wall Street Journal: “Voters and analysts in the home states of Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine expect Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate to be a comparatively sedate affair, pitting two strait-laced candidates who lack the visibility and the volubility of their running mates.”

I’m not so sure; I remember the story of a Pence rally in Virginia where he gave an hour-long speech in the pouring rain, got soaked to the skin, and the crowd didn’t leave. Clearly, Pence has got game. And Kaine, despite his foxy grin and nice-guy demeanor, got in some pretty good digs at Trump on the stage at the Democrat National Convention. So there could be more fireworks than we expect.

Typically, vice-presidential debaters are expected to fight their corner and not lose. However, with the race so volatile, and both major candidates so… so… gobsmacking? we might see each campaign try out attack lines for the coming week and the upcoming Presidential debate. That could lead to fireworks as well.

Hard to imagine a drinking game for this one!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ekstase

    From the PBS pre-coverage suggestions:


    “Think of this as the opposite of the last presidential debate, where we suggested viewers watch for who interrupts the most. Watch instead for who wins the good manners contest.”

    I find these ways of watching much easier than the old way of actually paying attention to what they said. Big words. Thoughts. Who has time for that?

  2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    It’s a sad day when “2012” and “Tosh.O” hold my attention more than the debate. I suppose it’s the inner millennial in me.

    Now, if Jill Stein had been invited to participate…

    Here’s to hoping Pence hits KAINE from the left on Trade among other things.

      1. allan

        I tried to listen. Really, I did, but just couldn’t do it for more than 30 seconds at a time. The idea of either of these clowns anywhere close to a heartbeat or frozen smile away from the Oval Office is terrifying. But, if you insist:

        Shorter Pence: You guys are insulting us. Also Iran is scary.
        Shorter Kaine: A Hillary, a verb and 9/11.

        [And thank you, as always, for putting on those waders!]

        1. PhilU

          This, like every thing out of Kaines mouth, was too clever by half. It was great when Pence called him on it.

  3. Lambert Strether Post author

    Asked about leadership, Kaine links HRC to Barbara Johns (led school walkout that led to Brown v Board of Education) pushed stronger together. Experience at all levels of government.

    “We trust Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief” — son overseas. Trump “scares us to death.”

    Pence. American people know things have to change. “I grew up with a cornfield in my backyard’ (!). “A lifetime of experience.”

    1. ekstase

      Cornfields can get scratchy on your legs if you walk through them. I just thought I’d throw that out.

  4. ChrisAtRU

    What’s up with the tie switcheroo??? Pence (Dem) in red and Pence (GOP) in blue???
    #ReachingAcrossTheTieIsle ???

    1. ChrisAtRu

      I think the lethal drinking game here is to have one when both VP candidates are speaking at the same time …

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      red is the color of Socialism, so maybe she’s actually reaching out to the left!?

  5. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q: Why don’t people trust Hillary Clinton?

    Kaine: [overrides end of question]. Clinton always puts others first. Trump puts himself first. Trump calls Mexicans rapists and criminals. How can Pence defend insult-driven style of Trump?

    Q: Why Trump considered erratic?

    Pence YOu and Clinton know plenty about insults. Mideast spinning out of control. Syria result of weak policy purssued. Ukraine–

    Kaine: You guys love Russie


    Pence: An avalannce of insults. Trump brought business acumen

    [Kaine: interrupts] taxes

    Pence: People don’t trust Clinton because they’re paying attention

    Kaine: You are Donand Trumps apprentence

    Pence: Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions while SoS

    Kaine: When HRC started SoS OBL was alive! Russian chemical weapons. Iran nuclear weapons 175,000 troo[s aboard now 15K.

    * * * Yes, some sparks flying ***

  6. Kokuanani

    I don’t think Kaine realizes how unpopular Clinton is. He could probably do better “on his own,” as opposed to being linked to, and defending her.

    The structure of this debate disadvantages Dems: it’s focused on issues and allows candidates to bleat out their cliches — esp. the Repubs with their “taxes to high; too many regs.

    They can’t, so far, get to “very, very bad Trump.”

    1. ekstase

      However, by the PBS “politeness” measure, Kaine seems the clear winner so far. Whoa, moderator just told them both to quit interrupting! Back to kindergarten, fellows!

    2. different clue

      Perhaps he DOES realize. Perhaps he is showing the Inner Party Rulers that he is a good and active servant. That way, if Hillary goes down, Kaine will still have a future inside the Catfood Democrat Party.

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    Weld live tweets.

    Baraka live commentary

    Pence: Kaine is a fitting candidate for Clinton. They want more of the same. They’ll raise taxes. A trillion. War on coal! Even Bill Clinton calls ObamaCare a crazy plan. They even want single payer! [as if] Lower taxes and less regulation better trade deal will get economy going and deal with national debt.

    Kaine: Hired President w Clinton or Fired plan with Clinton. Manfacturing infrustature, invest in workforce (college debt). minimum wage + equal pay for women, promote small business, target middle class for tax relief and asks rich to pay more. Trump min wage too high. Pence and Trump want to eliminate min wage. Trump gives tax breaks to people like Trump. What we did 10 years ago and put economy into recession 10 year ago [!!!!!]

  8. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q: Trump taxes. Does paying as little tax as possible seem fair?

    Pence: Dodges back to economy

    Pence: Donald Trump is a businessman. We have a tax code that encourages entreprenerships. He used the tax code just as its supposed to be used. This whole riff about not paying taxes…. He’s created thousands of jobs

    Kaine: “That makes me smart.” It’s smart not to pay for the military [sigh].

    Pence: Do you take all the deductions you’re entitled to? Waiting for audit.

    Q: Wait ’til the other is finished!

  9. sleepy

    I dislike Kaine’s smirk and interruptions.

    No, I’m not paying attention to any discussion of the issues because there isn’t any other than the pablum I’ve heard for years and/or convenient lies.

  10. Kokuanani

    Well, Kaine lays down a hard promise not to “privatize social security.”

    Pence dances over to Scary, Scary Debt as a counter.

  11. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q Social Security

    Kaine Preserve, never privatize. Trump wants privatize in book he wrote, Pence supports in Congress. Will keep Social Security solvent -[sigh].

    Pence There they go again. We’re going meet our obligations. The old scare tactic

    Kaine I can’t believe you won’t defend your own voting record <-- ouch Pence Your party we'll be in a mountain of debt Kaine Your plan is worse

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    Pence: Let me say [chokes up] at the risk of agreeing with you…

    Pence: [moving defense of police, if you are so moved]. Hillary uses tragedy “implicit bias”

    Senator, please, enough of seeking every opportunity to demean police

    Kaine: People shouldn’t be afraid to discuss bias

    Pence, mildly outragedL I’m not afraid.

    Kaine: Stops, sentencing bias

    [Kaine really interrupts way too much]

    Kaine: I can’t believe you’re defending a position that there’s no

    Pence: We need to adopt criminal justice reform and did in Indiana. Need to correct institutional bias. Let’s not have the reflex of assuming the worst. LE is a force for good

    [Kaine tries to interrupt, moderator whacks him]

    Kaine: The tone that’s set from the top. Rapists, criminals, dogs, slobs, Mexican judge. Can’t bring respect

  13. Pat

    While I am quite sure Clinton’s owners would love privatized SS, no one is deluded enough to think the public will accept it. So they are left with “preserve it” by slicing and dicing it to death. Preserve it means chained CPI, means testing and an increased retirement age. Plus a few fees, taxes, etc we haven’t even thought of yet.

  14. John

    I’m not for the over 40 million illegals or over the over 2 million
    legal immigrants they let in every year when over 40 million Americans
    have now jobs.

    This is why I won’t vote for the Dems

  15. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q Immigration

    Pence: Been talking immigration 20 years. Trump has a plan to deal w immigration. ICE union endorsed Trump bc they know they need help.

    Pence: Avalanche of insults. Ours is an insult-driven campaign. If Trump said it all, he’d have nothing on Clinton saying half our supporters are a basket of deplorable. Small potatoes!

    Kaine She took it back. Trump never apologizes. Immigration. Trump, deportation nation, Clinton comprehensive reform. Trump proposed to deport 16 million, including 11 million without documents. They want to go house to house, school to school with a deportation force

    Pence: We have a deportation force, it’s called ICE. 16 million is nonsense. They have a plan for open borders and amnesty. A nation without borders is not a nation

    Q: Would they really be removed?

    Pence: After we build the wall the focus needs to be on criminal aliens. Once we’ve done all of these things, we’re going to reform the immigation. Senator I’ll work with you when you go back to the Senate [ouch]

    [Kaine should really stop yapping]

    Kaine: They will all be gone, is what Trump said. Go to the tape. We are a nation of immigrants. Some things were said about the Irish. Trump says Mexicans are rapists and criminals….

  16. high integer

    To me, Pence’s body language suggests that he is the more honest of the two. Kaine is shifty!

  17. okanogen

    If Kaine’s overall tactic is to get people to turn off the VP debate, then mission accomplished.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, but by virtue of being turned off by him.

      I normally don’t like guys of Pence’s type, but Kaine’s making him look good by comparison.

    2. Montanamaven

      +100. Tim Kaine is beyond rude and condescending. And Pence is creepy on the anti-Russia crap. And Russia did not invade UKRAINE, Miss Moderator !!!!

      1. johnnygl

        Or Georgia, or Crimea…oh those facts…

        I don’t get why trump/pence don’t throw clinton’s wall street speches back at them every time camp clinton moans about trump’s tax returns.

      1. okanogen


        I find Pence’s “Oh my gosh, I’m offended by your insult-driven campaign” schtick just as bad, but I imagine it plays better overall than Kaine’s yappy attack puppy gig.

        All Kaine would have to do is ask Pence if HRC is pantomiming disabled people or fat-shaming beauty queens on twitter at 3am. Pence has a lot of nerve going with the “insult-driven campaign” complaint.

      2. Optimader

        I knew an attack puppy, and Sir he is no attack puppy
        He’s a yappy chihuahua!

        How was he ever elected to ANYTHING?? The loosers must have been horrifying!

  18. philnc

    Watching the debate on democracynow.org where they’re using a delayed feed to allow Ajamu Baraka to respond to the other candidates, and showing himself to be the adult in the (virtual) room.

  19. John

    For the life of me I don’t understand the Democratic party.

    Most of their positions are anti worker and anti middle class
    yet they think they should without question get our vote.

    1. jrs

      I’m not really a pro-labor advocate, but I play one on t.v.. And that’s the way it’s been for several decades now (actually to some extent always was, they never really favored radical unionism etc.).

  20. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q terrorism

    Kaine: Only one candidate who can defeat terrorism. 9/11 seared onto her the need to do it. On team that “got” Bin Laden. [Kaine reels off the policy talking points, which he’s good at]. Donald Trump can’t start a twitter war with Miss Universse without shooting himself in the foot. He has no plan, but he does have dangerous ideas. Insults generals, tears up alliances, loves dictators [Kaine: Oh, come on], world will safer if world has more nuclear weapons. T

    Pence: Did you work on that one a long time? [ouch] America is less safe today, it’s inarguble Mostly lack of leadership. I saw Pentagon [Kaine: I was in Virginia. Jeebus, dude, STFU] HRC failed to negotiate SOFA to allow gains in Iraq to be preserved, hence ISIS. We are back at war in Iraq, Obama more troops on the ground. Sacrifices squandered in Iraq because we created a vacuum.

    Pence: Iran deal is teh suxx0r

    Q: What about home-grown terror?

    Pence: Begins with us reforming immigration. But also we’re committed to suspending Syrian immigration.

    Kaine: HRC want to enforce on are people dangerous, not on their country or religion. Yesterday judges struck down Pence plan on keeping out Syrian

    Pence: Court bc no evidence yet. But there will be, look at Germany, or Paris’s 9/11. I had no higher authority than the safety of the people

    Kaine: We will vet based on danger not discriminate. Antithetical to Jeffersonian value

    Pence: FBI, can’t know for certain, err on side of safety

    Q: What would an intelligence surge look like?

    Kaine: More hires, hire contractors, so we can gather more intel. Create stronger alliances

    [NEITHER answers original question, on home-grown terrorism!!!]

    1. Optimader

      seared onto her
      The sounds like a failed speech line from VEEP when Julia L Dryfuss’s speech writer is on codeine

  21. ewmayer

    Just turned on TV to watch Jeopardy!, having forgotten about the VP debate.

    Oh, boy, Pence busy spewing the evil-Russkies-must-be-countered-with-exceptional-American-military-strength propaganda meme. Uh, that’s Hillary and her fellow neocons’ turf, dude. Gag me.

  22. okanogen

    Anybody who thinks Trump and Pence aren’t as militant or more so than HRC is willfully blind. Maybe listening to Pence talk about ripping up the Iran deal, facing off against Russia and bombing Assad will help educate them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t buy that argument, for two reasons:

      (1) What Trump says is not commensurable with what Clinton has done; she has a track record, tipping the balance of the Obama administration toward war in Libya for example.

      (2) The neocons are warmongers, by definition. That’s what they want, and they too have a track record of achieving it. They’re also highly opportunistic, and most of them (including Republicans) have decided that the best opportunities for war lie with the Clinton administration. See Adam Wallinsky here.

      1. okanogen

        HRC is proud of her role in the Iran nuclear deal, and Trump and Pence want to scrap it and bomb Iranian ships that “taunt” us. then listen to Trump on North Korea.

        I wouldn’t deny Clinton’s past, but I had to suck it up and vote for Obama because I thought he would at least try to avoid war with Iran. Luckily, that is how it worked out and I’m relieved.

        It has been shown over and over that the Republicans (and now Trump and Pence) are committed to that war. I trust that they are telling the truth about their intentions.

        1. pretzelattack

          but clinton has a history of reversing course. what we do know is that a lot of the warmongers have flocked to her support; the ones that wanted a war with iran. whatever clinton says about her role in the iran nuclear deal, i have no trust in if it can’t be verified. she has a demonstrated record of pushing war and enabling the iraq invasion. and yes trump and pence lie, no surprise there. what they will actually do is something else. i no more trust trump to tell the truth about his intentions than i trust clinton to do so. i do trust her record, though, and her friendship with kissinger.

        2. aab

          Wasn’t her role in the Iran nuclear deal to attempt to kill it and then when Kerry got it done after she left, to disavow it until she realized she’d have to ride Obama love to the White House?

        3. Otis B Driftwood

          So now it’s an achievement of Presidential leadership to NOT enter into a war of discretion?

          Sheesh … I feel you, but this kind of thing shows how degraded we have become as a nation.

          And yep, reading this the day after as I refuse to watch these closed debates.

      2. jrs

        I don’t buy this argument

        1) so Trump has no political experience, so there is no valid way at all to judge someone with political experience compared to someone without it. They are measuring very different things. It is certainly not valid to say not having political experience automatically makes one better which is what this argument actually amounts to (yea ok it’s easy to hate on the politicians but it’s still not a valid comparison).
        2) *Most* neocons may support Hillary, but they play both sides. James Woolsey, Iraq war promoter, is a senior advisor to Trump. Maybe we are of course the marks again. Willing to be fools imagining there is a difference between the candidates on foreign policy issues.

        1. pretzelattack

          part of what we can know of trump is that he is a bullshit artist. part of what we know of clinton is that she is a warmonger. nobody is saying we shouldn’t be worried by trump, but there is nothing like the certainty that attaches to clinton in gauging the relative danger they would pose as president in conducting foreign policy. one is 100% to be a shit sandwich, the other 80%(?) because of uncertainty. neither is an attractive option.

  23. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q: Aleppo

    Pence: US should be prepared to strike military targets in Assad regime. “Broad shouldered American leadership”

    Kaine: Hillary and I also agree on humanitarian zone… Hillary also can stand up to Russia. Trump praises Putin, has business dealing. Manafort got fired. Pence says Putin is a better leader than Obama. If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership you should go back to Fifth Grade civics class.

    After 9/11, Clinton goes to get support of WoT, Trump fights to pay no taxes

    Elaine: This is about Aleppo..

    Kaine: Trump taxes!

    Pence: Do you not take deductions? How does that work?

    Q: How do safe zones work?

    Pence: Use the intl framework. No-fly zone. [Great. Both sides want war with Russia] To see the weak and feckless leadership is deeply troubling to me

    Kaine: Doesn’t acknowledge Iran deal, got OBL, fewer troops. Trump wants nuclear proliferation. Reagan said, of proliferation, a maniac or fool getting hold of one is the danger. That’s Trump.

    Pence: That’s beneath even you and Hillary Clinton. That’s pretty low.

    Pence: Iran has not renounced nuclear weapons in the deal.

    Kaine: More nations should get nukes

    Pence: He never said that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Pence on Syria also seems far ahead of anything Trump has said.

        Trump has said very little about Syria’s civil war–and advocated none of the measures Pence outlined. Instead, he has concentrated on the separate fight against the Islamic State in Syria, saying he would “knock the hell out of” the militants, and advocated cooperation with Russia.


        What Kaine didn’t do is spell out Clinton’s plan for stopping the civil bloodshed in Syria. Although she hasn’t mentioned them recently, in the past the former secretary of state has called for many of the same things Pence now says he (although he carefully spoke in the first person) advocates: a no-fly zone, possible use of the American military to stop Syrian government bombing, working with allies.

    1. different clue

      Pence: US should be prepared to strike military targets in Assad regime.”

      Really? REALLY? Isn’t that the exact opposite of what Trump had been saying and indicating a short while ago? Is Pence a secret Democrat? A closet Clintonite?

      Pence will sow much confusion and lose Trump some votes. The Libertarian ticket of (“some guy”/ Weld) should start picking up a lot of votes, and then building up some momentum.

      Kaine sounds revolting based on what I have read so far. People of “midwestern nice” culture don’t like the kind of behavior I am reading described here. Nice polite Republicans who were going to vote for Clinton may reconsider based on this Kainiac behavior. Their thinking will be “if Clinton is sick or near death and has to resign or die early in her first term, that means we get that nasty little Kaine creature as President”. They may not want to risk that.

      1. MojaveWolf

        You’re not wrong. Pence scared the crap out of me last night. Kaine rescued him by trying to one-up him, and then they went back and forth on who was going get more aggressive with Russia.
        Whole debate cycle reminds me of those Everclear lyrics to “Santa Monica”– “Swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die”

        Yay team? (not mine, mind you. I’m not on any of these teams, I just want to wake up and the world is very different)

      1. montanamaven

        what i mean is his claim that russia invaded ukraine. they didn’t . so it must be frustrating to Bernard that first the moderator states the untruth and then Pence repeats it.

        1. okanogen


          I don’t think Trump is worried about details like, transcripts or facts, and there Pence was denying it, so I guess it is “deniable”, in Pence’s mind at least.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, Kaine knew he had a gotcha, which is why he kept pushing it. (It was interesting to watch Anderson Cooper push Trump on it, too. The passage I quote came after about the third question.)

            Notice the use case isn’t a mad man getting hold of them (Kaine is wrong) but Trump did say it (Pence is wrong).

            1. okanogen

              I did go and read that transcript. Trump’s intent is plain, but he keeps walking it back, calling it “defending themselves”, rather than letting them get nuclear weapons. It is very, very weasel-wordy, but not in a politician way, more in the way of a shady salesman selling True-Coat. He can deny, I think that he ever said flat out that he would be ok with them having nuclear weapons, but he can also deny NOT saying it.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, I remember that. There was a ton of consternation about it too.

      I recall the context being parallel to NATO, as in “Why are we paying to defend them? And if they want nuclear protection, maybe they should get their own.”

  24. Lambert Strether Post author

    Pence: On taxes I get it. Focus group. Clinton Foundation, while HRC SoS, accepted millions of dollars, and AP more than half of her meetings were held with foreign donors. They’re looking at pay-to-play

    Kaine: On the Foundation. Glad to talk. Highest rated in world. AIDS drugs, opiod [first mention]. Clinton took no action based on FOundation, State did an investigation and Clinton acted in interest of US.

    Trump [something] is an octopus, for profit, don’t know conflicts wo the tax returns.

    Trump Foundation just fined for contributing to Bondi on Trump U.

    Pence: Trump Foundation is a private family foundation, with Clinton Foundation less then 10 cents goes to charitable causes. A platform for the Clintons to travel the world. If Hillary Clinton would turn over the 33K mail we’d know more.

  25. JCC

    Well, after 20 minutes of watching this I’m wiped out. If I hear “we have to rebuild our military” one more time, I’m turning this off. It’s just one lie after another from both sides, not to mention the extreme rudeness towards the moderator, as bad as she is.

    Actually I’m turning it off anyway. Another time waster.

    This is a bigger joke than the 1st Pres debate. it’s awful.

    And if I was undecided about a third party vote before this (I wasn’t), this debate is definitely the clincher. Not only do we all lose with either HRC or Trump, but when of them has the inevitable heart attack, we will be stuck with one of these two bozos.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      … Ha! And he just talked about how a society will be judged by how it treats “its most vulnerable”.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the Times article:

      As the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Mr. Pence brings a long record of social and fiscal conservatism that serves as a counterweight to Donald J. Trump’s frequently shifting views. But rarely have the governor’s principles been tested like they were during Indiana’s worst public health crisis in years.

      Much as Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, had to wrestle with his deeply felt opposition to capital punishment in a death penalty state, allowing 11 executions when he was Virginia’s governor, the H.I.V. outbreak forced Mr. Pence to balance strong beliefs against ground-level reality: an epidemic that was growing more dire by the day.

      In recent interviews, local, state and federal health officials said Mr. Pence initially held firm. So as they struggled to contain the spread of H.I.V., the officials embarked on a behind-the-scenes effort over several weeks to persuade him to change his mind, using political pressure, research and pleas for help from this remote, poor community.

      On March 23, more than two months after the outbreak was detected, Mr. Pence said he was going to go home and pray on it. He spoke to the sheriff the next night.

      Two days later, he issued an executive order allowing syringes to be distributed in Scott County.

    3. ginnie nyc

      Are you serious? That article states Pence, despite his religious beliefs, authorized the needle-exchange program.

      1. okanogen

        That article doesn’t include the backstory, where the AIDS epidemic had been raging for over a year and Pence ignored it (faith-based). It had been preceded by a Hep-C outbreak that he ignored (faith-based).


        “It’s overwhelming how much pain and suffering is going on here. We can provide a basic level of primary care. But some people can’t even afford 10 dollars.”

        The recent HIV spread has been staggering, Cooke said: During 2014, there were about 420 new HIV cases reported throughout Indiana compared to the nearly 80 identified in just one small town during the past three months.

        The dissection of Scott County by Interstate-65 is one factor in the addiction rate, Cooke said.

        420 new HIV cases most of them in a very small rural county in 2014, a full year before Pence “checked his conscience” whimpered a bit, wringed his hands, and allowed health care professionals to do free needle exchanges to save lives.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Bill Clinton was against needle exchange in 1998. Obama was for needle exchange in 2009, Hillary Clinton was against it (“We’ll have as much spine as we possibly can, under the circumstances,” Clinton responded”). In 2016:

          Congress effectively lifted the nation’s long-standing ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs, which allow intravenous drug addicts to trade dirty syringes for clean ones in the hope of preventing disease.

          The measure was quietly tucked into the omnibus spending package signed by President Obama last month. Though federal funds still can’t be used for the syringes themselves, they can go toward the costlier expenses associated with these programs, such as staff, vans, substance use counseling, referral to treatment and outreach in at-risk communities….

          Opponents have long argued that needle exchanges enable addicts to keep using. Congress first banned the use of federal funds for these programs in 1988, lifted the prohibition in 2009 and reinstated it in 2011. The latest change came at the suggestion of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ensured the language remained in the Senate version of the spending bill, their spokespeople say.

          Plenty of whimpering to go around, no?

          1. okanogen

            That last link is broken.

            I think going back to 1998 and her husband’s administration is a bit much. I read the 2007 article, there is no way to say whether she favored or opposed needle exchange funding.

            Clinton responded to King’s question (1:10:40 in the video above), after some prodding, by saying, “I want to look at the evidence on it” to see whether needle exchange would prevent the spread of HIV without increasing drug abuse.

            Shalala, King responded, had “certified” the safety and effectiveness of the programs.

            “And then she refused to order it, as you remember,” Clinton said.

            King replied that that had been her husband’s decision.

            “Well, because we knew we couldn’t maintain it politically,” Clinton said, and went on to discuss the trade-offs in that dispute with Congress. “I wish life and politics were easier,” she said.

            King then referred back to Clinton’s opening remarks.

            “You made a great comment earlier about how our next president needs to have some spine,” he said.

            “We’ll have as much spine as we possibly can, under the circumstances,”

            You could just as easily read that as saying she would try to have as much spine as possible to implement funding for needle exchange programs. That would go along with her general attitude of political compromise and not over-promising.

              1. okanogen

                I know this is all academic for somebody like you.

                So full disclosure, someone I loved very much died of undiagnosed HIV in Indiana a year ago last summer. They didn’t even know they were infected until they were on what became their deathbed. I didn’t know until this summer Pence’s feckless and inexcusable role after all that we have learned about HIV since the late 90’s.

                I don’t really have much time for internet gadfly Pence apologists on this issue.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I don’t think it’s a bit much at all. Clintonism/DLC centrism has a long history, and both Clintons have been major players through all of it, in fact key to implementing it. Debacle after debacle, too, unless you’re a major oligarch. Not that the Christian Right didn’t have its own debacles. The car went into the ditch with both people in the front seat fighting over control of the wheel, and neither of them wanting to steer it back on the road.

              1. Pat

                Especially since Clinton cites her time as First Lady as a qualification for President. If she wasn’t just hosting State Dinners and did have say in policy, which should be so for that claim, she gets stuck with all of them.

              2. okanogen

                1998 is 18 years ago. I think what happens in 2014-2016 is more relevant.

                Here is former President Bill Clinton, in 2002 (14 years ago) on federal funding for needle exchanges. “I was wrong”.


                Former President Clinton said he was “wrong” not to lift a ban on federal funding of needle-exchange programs during his presidency, the Wall Street Journal reported July 12.

                Clinton acknowledged that a government panel told him that needle-exchange programs were effective in slowing the spread of HIV among injection-drug users, and didn’t promote drug abuse.

                But Clinton said he took the advice of his drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who opposed the funding because of “the message it would send on the drug front.”

                Clinton made his remarks at the XIV International AIDS Conference in Spain. He has made fighting AIDS one of his post-presidency priorities.

                1. Pavel

                  Maybe Bill Clinton should have listened more to Nancy Reagan. After all, Hillary herself reminded us how much Nancy & Ron did for AIDS at the former’s funeral.

        2. Clive

          It’s so annoying isn’t it when, after much carnage has ensued, that suddenly these bible-botherers get a Revaluation from the Almighty that this pseudo-religiosity is getting them spanked in the polls and, lo and behold, a divine messenger tells them to do an immediate policy U-turn.

          God certainly does work in mysterious ways, so it seems.

  26. ChrisAtRU

    “They’re criminals who come into this country, Tim …” – Pence … was his voice cracking again?

  27. Lambert Strether Post author

    Cue schmaltzy organ music for discussion on faith.

    Pence on abortion (“sanctity of life”). Indiana on the way to being the most pro-adoption state. Plays partial birth abortion card. I know you’ve supported no taxpayer dollars on abortion but Clinton doesn’t

    Kaine: Hillary and I are both out of religious backgrounds. It’s not the role of a public servant to mandate. We support Roe v Wade. We support the right of women to make their own decisions on abortion. We don’t think women should be punished, as does Trump. Before Roe v Wade, states could punish women. That’s a fundamental difference.

    Pence: Trump and I would never support legislation….

    Kaine: Why did he say that?

    Pence; He’s not a polished politician.

    Kaine: From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks. [ouch!]

    Pence: Right to life. You support the Hyde Amendment. But Clinton doesn’t. Quotes Mother Teresa.

    Kaine: Why don’t you trust women to make this choice for themselves? Why doesn’t Donald Trump?

      1. Pat

        You might want to put that pro-choice in quotes. Admittedly Kaine has a much better record as Senator, but as Governor it is pretty appalling from abstinence only to partial birth to informed consent with ultrasound.

        He could have had a revelation, but I go with paternalistic asshole who prefers the right to control his women. He will let it ride to bargain for personal gain. Yet In power it will be god spoke, and women have no say.

        On most things they are Tweedledum and Tweedledee, this included

    1. frosty zoom

      they really should have someone playing music live for this, the way they did for the old silent movies.

      1. Kokuanani

        I think “commenters” in the fashion of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 would be great as well.

        1. Optimader

          MST3000 yeaaaa!
          The new debate format
          Passing through the airlock doors is not out of theme

  28. Lambert Strether Post author

    Q If you win, how unify the country?

    Kaine: I am amazed by how well Republican Senators respect Hillary Clinton. CHIP program. Health benefits for first responders. She has a track record of working across the aisle. I have the same track record. After election day the goal is to work together

    Pence: It’s a challenging time. Best way to bring people together is through change. It’s going to take leadership. Trump’s entire career has been about building. Real change after decades of talking about it. Americans will stand tall = unity.

  29. Romancing The Loan

    -moderator interrupts a very stupid exchange- Kaine -cuts her off- “Elaine, this is important.”


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is the relevant passage

      The Guccifer 2.0 release includes a list of big bank donations, from which a portion of TARP funds—the Troubled Asset Relief Program aimed at helping financial institutions recover from the 2008 economic recession—went to Democrats. Former Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Congressman James Clyburn, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Mel Watt, Congressman John Larson, Congressman Paul Kanjorski, Congressman Xavier Beccera, and Congressman Steny Hoyer were all implicated in a document listing donations from financial firms including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and others, to their Political Action Committees. The Dodd-Frank Act authorized $475 billion to fund the TARP program, and it appears several Democrats made sure they received a cut of the benefits.

      The “take a cut” is a bit deceptive, no? That said, I’ve always loved this image:

    2. okanogen

      I think this should be described as “what the hacker claims are Clinton Foundation Docs”. Is there any proof that is what they are?

        1. okanogen

          True. But they admitted those were legitimate. These they are denying. Either way, it is more accurate to say the hacker claims they are Clinton Foundation docs.

            1. okanogen


              If they acknowledge them, they are legit, if they deny them? Also legit.

              It’s like they Chappelle skit
              Contestant 1
              “Is pimping easy?”, “No, pimpin’ ain’t easy” Correct!
              Contestnant 2
              “Is pimping easy?”, “Hell yeah pimpin’ is easy!”, Also, surprisingly, correct!

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > Pimpin’

                Well, the Democrat nomenklatura.

                I do feel the whole election is like being forced to choose between a pimp and a burglar (the burglar just putting your stuff in a bag, and the pimp working through a layer of indirection and taking a cut; capitalist v. rentier).

            2. PhilU

              Best I can tell the Clinton Foundation is denying them because they are from the DCCC. I don’t think the DCCC has commented, but I don’t think they will deny. Why Guccifer fingered the foundation is any ones guess.

              I’m starting to think Assange might just be overwhelmed with documents and can’t verify them all in time and created Guccifer for ones he doesn’t have time to verify but thinks that the dems couldn’t possibly denounce authenticity because there is always a donor list that the press can easily check with to make sure records match.

  30. frosty zoom

    the ad on this page is telling me to invest in wackytabacky.


    Pence/Kaine 2016 – We’re with Us!

  31. DJPS

    Thanks for going to all this trouble. Sounds like it’s been a little more interesting than I imagined it would have been.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      When I emptied out my yellow waders, the volume of effluent wasn’t quite as great as with the Presidential debate. Although that’s a low bar.

      I dunno. Either of these guys in the White House? Both of them quite successful regional politicians, I suppose. Whatever else one might say about both Clinton and Trump, they’re national figures.

      1. okanogen

        That’s about right. Both are parochial figures, b actors playing familiar scripted roles, not leads.

        A forgettable non-event between under-cards.

  32. Elizabeth

    I had to turn this show off after 45 minutes. Tim Kaine came across as a complete jerk with his constant interruptions. The moderator was terrible, repeated the lie about Russia invading Ukraine. Didn’t someone recently call for fact checking the debate? She lost control of the whole thing.

    I did catch Kaine’s statement that HRC would find ways to keep Soc. Sec. solvent – oh, I’m sure she will with chained CPI and other means. Frankly, I thought the whole thing was disgusting.

  33. Lambert Strether Post author

    My take-aways–

    1) Neither appealed beyond their base (and Kaine, especially, made no appeal to the so-called “millenials” (except for one routine mention of college debt)

    2) Their prime directive was not to damage their candidate. I don’t think either did.

    3) I’m not big on sanctimony a la Pence but I found Kaine’s yapping totally irritating (and it was foreshadowed by his DNC behavior, too).

    4) I didn’t hear anything justifying what will no doubt be the forthcoming hysteria in the press.

    5) The moderator’s questions weren’t all that great, but she did a better job controlling the candidates than Holt did. Good for the first time at the big show.

    6) Not inclined to score, but whoever won, won on points, and not by very many, either.

  34. Steve C

    I thought it likely that Kaine would go without mentioning the “religious freedom” fiasco in Indiana in which Pence played the key role. But I’m appalled that I was right. Instead, Kaine keeps trying to get around Pence’s right. The fact Kaine wanted to do that when Pence is in Gore Vidal’s words a “crypto-Nazi” shows Kaine isn’t much better. Not enough to earn my vote.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Kaine keeps trying to get around Pence’s right

      Yes. That’s not going to help with the “millenials” whose votes Clinton is said to be so crazy to get. (You’d think that the AP story on how Trump treated the apprentices on his show would be tailor-made to make such an appeal: “Look how Trump is treating those nice young people.” But nothing.)

    2. hunkerdown

      Perhaps “This Business Serves Everyone” is too close to trade for discussion right now. Which suggests that people are bothered by the market being used as the benchmark of life, that trade is untruckably hazmat right now.

  35. albrt

    The best drinking game was to not watch this debate at all and have a drink.

    But that is also true of the entire campaign.

  36. Clive

    Okay I’ve just waded through all the above, and never have I been more grateful for the honest excuse of a 5 hour time difference that meant I didn’t have to feel like I’d neglected my civic duty and not watched the debate. And luckily I don’t have to vote for either gruesome horror show party either (but some sympathy here please, in the U.K. I have my own tale of woes).

    But please join me in handing a Blogging Congressional Medal of Honour to Lambert for sitting through all that (with special mentions to everyone who stuck it out for the full 90 minutes too!)

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      +1 I’ve stated my reasons for not watching these spectacles of American decline, but I do very much appreciate reading the comments of people whose opinions and insights I trust and admire. Thanks for bearing witness.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Same here. Thank you Lambert.

        I re-watched ‘Best of Enemies’, the 2015 doc about the 1968 debates btwn Wm. Buckley and Gore Vidal. Vidal’s commentary as apt now as it was then.

    2. Anne

      Thanks to Lambert’s always excellent live-blogging, and the great comments, I was able to avoid actually watching without feeling like I was missing anything (though my blood pressure was still goosed by what I was watching – the Orioles lose to the Blue Jays in an AL wild card game, but at least with sports, you don’t have to have the sound on).

      This morning, driving to work, I listened to part of the debate on CSPAN radio – the exchange where Kaine confessed to putting people to death even though his faith made him opposed to the death penalty, and Pence patted himself on the back for not backing away from his faith on the abortion issue.

      And then there was some post-debate spin from Robby Mook (Clinton) and Jeff Sessions (Trump). Honestly, I didn’t know which was worse, Mook’s relentless recitation of talking points, or Sessions’ display of why he isn’t considered the brightest bulb in the pack.

      Lordy, if the whole night was like that – or worse – I’m glad I didn’t watch: I was pretty much yelling at the radio at 6:45 am…

      But I have figured out that Trump operates on the theory that if he changes anything he says, he considers whatever it was he originally said to not have ever been uttered. He thinks all that matters is the final word (of that day or that moment), and doesn’t seem to understand that we’re all looking at the equivalent of a red-lined document that allows us to see all the edits.

  37. LifeIsLikeABeanstalk

    Clinton and Kaine (she shoulda picked Deval Patrick or a legit Econ powerhouse Sanders-ista over Tim) are both missing an opportunity to drive a mean wedge between Trump and McConnell & Ryan (and by implication Pence) by not commenting on the TPP in a manner that that blows everybody’s cover and makes them defend against each other in their own races. Trump is against it but the Koch Bros (Pence’s historic benefactors) and most of the Republicans running for Senste seats are for it. That would be a great wedge issue that would get Trump pitted against most of his party’s congressional and senate candidates at a very inoportune time.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      How would Kaine have backtracked his support for TPP and his vote for fast track authority?

      Selecting Kaine as a running mate more or less destroyed an opportunity to make hay out of TPP for Clinton.

  38. reslez

    Two politicians, alike in infamy,
    In fair Virginia where we lay our scene,
    From Wall Street partisan to Trumpeteer,
    Where Syrian blood makes all hands unclean.
    From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
    A pair of grasping gasbags takes their place;
    Whose misadventured podiums overthrow
    Do with their wind inflate their pilots’ strife.
    The groaning drivel of debt hysteria,
    And the continuance of the voters’ rage,
    Which, but their leaders’ end, nought could remove,
    Is the ninety minute traffic of our stage;
    The which if you with patient eyes attend,
    What here shall miss, our blogger’s toil shall mend.

  39. MojaveWolf

    Missed 1st hr. Got there just in time to hear both vp wannabes compete to see who could sound more like they wanted attack Russia.

    Pence handed Kaine a gift with his abortion response to the obnoxious religion question, and Kaine ran with it.Actually a good response by Kaine here, excepting the whole believability angle based on his past record. From what I heard later, Kaine was so awful the 1st hr that this did not “win” the debate for him (no one can “win” a debate in which both candidates spend 15 minutes of the debate talking about the need to beef up the military so they can bump chests with Russia. That is insane. Neither of these people should be anywhere near the white house.)

    Ok. Trump wins. He is the only one of the four people closest to power who has yet to indicate he would enjoy an exchange of fire with Russia. OTOH, he has Pence as his VP. Pence sounded almost as raring to go as Hillary. I’m actually not kidding when I say all these people frighten me. The supposedly scary Trump the least, because he seems by FAR the most sane. But… Pence.

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