Mike Pence wins first Vice Presidential debate

Mike Pence wins first Vice Presidential debate

Liz Kacher, Staff Writer

The first and only vice presidential debate took place at Longwood University on Tuesday, Oct. 4 between Hillary Clinton’s running-mate Tim Kaine and Donald Trump’s running-mate Mike Pence.

The candidates alternated between offense and defense frequently, as they used those 90 minutes to battle to the finish. 

As I imagined, the VP debate wasn’t going to attract the attention that the Trump and Clinton received during the first presidential debate. According to the Los Angeles Times, the debate drew in 37 million viewers and attracted the smallest audience since 2000.

However, the case can be made that the vice presidential debates aren’t very successful at gaining further support for the presidential candidates.

While I remain indecisive about my vote in November, my respect for Indiana Governor Mike Pence made me put down my books to enjoy the debate. Those 90 minutes made me respect him as a person substantially more.

I like to consider the moderator of the debate when I make my opinions about the debate winner.

Even though a nonpartisan affiliation is preferable as a quality in the moderator, again I remain disappointed with the hardly tolerable CBS anchor Elaine Ouijano.

She played the referee as she did her best impression of ‘nonpartisan’ Lester Holt, slightly tolerating incessant interrupting from Senator Tim Kaine and throwing hard questions at Governor Pence.

Interestingly enough, the interrupting switched political affiliations compared to the interrupting that took place between Trump and Clinton. At one point, the national audience could barely understand what was being talked about as Governor Kaine fought his way to insult his opponent.

Governor Pence kept his cool as Governor Kaine wouldn’t let him get a word in, nonetheless would he listen to Elaine Ouijano.

At one point, she needed to interrupt just for the sake of the audience at home, saying “Gentlemen – the people at home cannot understand either one of you when you speak over each other. I would please ask you to wait until it is the other is finished.”

The short period of time I could praise Quijano’s moderating was when she addressed the issue that bothers me most about Hillary Clinton.

She finally illuminated the issue that so many conservatives care about when she asked Senator Kaine about how he, “praised Secretary Clinton’s character, including her commitment to public service, yet 60 percent of voters don’t think she’s trustworthy. Why do so many people distrust her? Is it because they have questions about her emails and the Clinton Foundation?”

Putting the incessant interruptions and litany of insults aside, I chose to disconnect my approval of Governor Pence when I consider the debates winner.

I couldn’t help but notice when Senator Kaine ranted his responses directly toward his opponent and the moderator, while Governor Kaine spoke to the national audience as he looked directly into the camera.

Pence remembered what Kaine failed to: the debate wasn’t for those in the room but rather the audience watching at home. In my mind, that is the moment you could consider Pence the winner.

What the American people most closely need to consider when they watch these debates is whether the content of the debate is factually accurate, so I chose to delve into the accuracy of the claims between the candidates, especially on the issues that matter the most to me.

Earlier this week, the media shed light to former President Clinton’s statements about Obamacare and his recent repealing of those statements. During the debate, Pence was sure to bring it up when he said, “even former President Bill Clinton calls Obamacare a crazy plan.”

Joe Neel, a Science Desk Editor and Correspondent for NPR reports, Bill Clinton did call Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world” on Monday evening in a speech in Flint, Mich.

He tried to walk it back Tuesday by explaining that it “did a world of good” for the tens of millions who gained health coverage.”

I’m troubled by Bill Clinton’s statements as Hillary seems to want to expand on a failing system. 

Health care is an important issue to me as I’m approaching the age of 26, when it is time for me to get my own health insurance policy, independent from my parents. Alison Kodjak, a Health Policy Correspondent for NPR weighs in on Trump’s health care plans saying, “Trump’s health care plan calls for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with health savings accounts. These accounts allow people to put money aside tax-free to pay for health care costs. He also calls for so-called high risk pools, which are designed to lower costs for people who have pre-existing medical conditions.”

While these debates become seemingly frustrating at times, I appreciate the opportunity to listen to the opponents discuss the issues that are most important to me and the American people. I eagerly await the second presidential debate to watch Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fight to the finish line in November.

Liz Kacher is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]