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Campaign 2016 updates: Vice presidential debate draws 37 million viewers

The debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine attracted the smallest audience for a VP debate since 2000.

  • Bill Clinton is displeased by Mike Pence’s comments about his foundation.
  • Blue-collar whites: A base for Donald Trump to build a comeback, polls show.
  • Trump takes credit for Pence’s debate performance.
  • Watch a few key moments between Pence and Tim Kaine, and here’s the full debate video.
  • Key excerpts of the annotated debate transcript.
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Hillary Clinton says debate showed Donald Trump is indefensible

Hillary Clinton told the crowd at a fundraiser here that the vice presidential debate on Tuesday night showed Donald Trump was an indefensible candidate.

She praised her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, for how he handled Trump’s pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

“Every time he tried to push Mike Pence to defend what Donald Trump has said and done, Pence just bobbed and weaved and tried to get out of the way because, after all, trying to defend Donald Trump is an impossible task,” Clinton said.

She pointed to Trump’s comments about allowing more countries to get nuclear weapons as proof. Pence falsely claimed during the debate that wasn’t Trump’s position.

“When your own running mate won’t defend the top of the ticket, I think that tells you everything you need to know,” Clinton said.

(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

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Clinton yearns to do somersaults after watching ‘SNL’ spoof

After watching Kate McKinnon’s spoof portrayal of her last weekend on “Saturday Night Live,” Hillary Clinton says she’s ready to do cartwheels on stage at her next debate with Donald Trump.

“I saw it on delay, but I did see it,” Clinton told “Extra” host A.J. Calloway. “I’ll tell you, when Kate McKinnon came out with the walker, I thought I was going to fall off my chair. She makes me laugh anyway, she is so funny just naturally. Oh, my gosh, she was amazing. I wish I could do the jumps, the splits, the somersault.”

Clinton’s recent bout of pneumonia, which sparked mocking by Donald Trump, was fodder for the “Saturday Night Live” season premiere. McKinnon coughed and hobbled onto a debate stage with a cane, then did a quick somersault to open her mock debate with Alec Baldwin, who played Trump.

“His look, his scowling, his staring down, then muttering his response, he was perfect,” Clinton said. “I don’t know who is going to show up at the next debate Sunday night.”

Clinton appeared on the show last year, playing a bartender, Val, who mocked Trump for calling everyone losers.

“We have a lot of ground to cover in the next 35 days,” Clinton said. “But I’m always up for standing around the bar.”

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Kaine and Pence got the smallest audience for a vice presidential debate since 2000

The first and only showdown between Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia attracted an average audience of 37 million viewers Tuesday, making it the smallest audience for a vice presidential debate since 2000.

Pence, the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Kaine, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s No. 2, were not expected to draw ratings similar to the top of the ticket, whose first debate last week was the most watched in U.S. history, with 84 million viewers.

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Who won the vice presidential debate? Here’s what nearly 30,000 people said

In an extremely unscientific poll, The Times asked people on Twitter who they thought won the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. Pence won with 68% of the nearly 30,000 votes cast. Kaine has fallen behind with 28%, and 4% called it a tie.

The anonymous votes echo our judges’ scores, which deemed Pence the overall winner.

Didn’t get a chance to vote in our poll? Rest assured, you still have time to cast your vote at the official polls. Make sure you’re registered to vote in the Nov. 8 election. Go here to find your state’s deadline.

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Mike Pence’s debate prep partner lauds him for not taking ‘bait’ from Tim Kaine

(Joe Skipper / Associated Press)

Mike Pence didn’t “take the bait” from Tim Kaine — and that’s exactly how he prepared, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday.

Walker, who played Kaine in Pence’s prep sessions, praised Pence for his ability to resist in the vice presidential debate.

“ ‘Don’t take the bait’ was a phrase we kept talking about. We knew, watching the tapes, that Sen. Kaine was going to spend his time really kind of detracting from the real question,” Walker said on CNN on Wednesday.

Kaine frequently interrupted Pence during the debate, hammering home Trump’s insults of women, Mexicans and others. Pence continuously sidestepped Kaine’s demands that he defend Trump’s views.

“What the debate prep helps you do is stay focused on who you are, what you believe in and not get stuck in things that are meant to sidetrack you,” Walker said.

Trump also lauded Pence’s debate performance, saying he was “phenomenal.”

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Who gets credit for Pence’s debate performance? Trump does, says Trump

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Donald Trump on Wednesday took credit for the widely praised debate performance of his running mate, Mike Pence, during the vice presidential debate, saying that it demonstrated his leadership skills.

“Mike Pence did an incredible job and I’m getting a lot of credit because that’s really my first so-called choice, that was my first hire,” Trump told more than 7,000 supporters in an overflowing concert pavilion. “… Last night, America also got to look firsthand at my judgment and that was judgment you know you need, judgment for people, for deals.”

Trump also praised Pence’s performance, declaring that his running mate had the greatest victory in the history of vice presidential debates.

“He was phenomenal, he was cool, he was smart,” Trump said. “Just take a look at him. He was meant to be doing what he is doing.”

Trump made the remarks while campaigning in Nevada, which President Obama twice won handily. This year, Trump and Hillary Clinton are effectively tied in an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics.

Trump also heaped praise on a Las Vegas paper and its owner, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who Trump described as a “great guy” and a “great supporter of Israel.”

Adelson, a major GOP donor, announced a little over two weeks ago that he would spend $5 million on pro-Trump efforts. Though it’s a major sum, it is a fraction of what he has spent in prior elections and also of what he’s putting toward down-ballot races this year.

During the GOP primary, when Adelson was reportedly considering backing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Trump mocked him on Twitter.

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Why is Trump still winning our poll? White men and uncertain voters

(Associated Press)

With the first two debates of the general election finished and early voting starting in many places, Hillary Clinton’s lead has strengthened in opinion polls in key states needed to win the White House, especially those with large minority populations.

But Donald Trump’s core support among blue-collar white voters remains largely intact, giving him a base from which to try to stage a comeback in the campaign’s final phase, judging by a raft of new polls released in the last several days.

A key for Trump is tenacious support among men, whose backing for him increased after Clinton’s health became an issue in early September, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” tracking poll of the race.

Nationally, the race has not shifted dramatically since the first debate between Clinton and Trump even though large majorities of voters say Clinton won the encounter. But beneath that relatively stable national picture, the lineup of states has shifted to Clinton’s benefit, the polls indicate.

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Libertarian vice presidential nominee says he’ll spend the rest of the campaign attacking Trump

William Weld, the Libertarian vice presidential nominee, says he will focus solely on attacking Donald Trump for the rest of the campaign in an effort to block the Republican from capturing the White House.

Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe that he also hopes to work with Mitt Romney and others after the election to forge a path for the GOP to rebuild.

“Maybe somebody is going to come up with a new playbook, and I don’t know who it’s going to be, but it would be fun to participate,” Weld said.

Weld’s remarks signaled an apparent loss of faith in running mate Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico. Johnson has stumbled in recent interviews, most notably replying “What is Aleppo?” when asked about the war-ravaged city in Syria and by failing to come up with the name of a single world leader he admires.

Weld vowed to remain Johnson’s running mate but said his main goal was to stop Trump.

“Mr. Trump’s proposals in the foreign policy area, including nuclear proliferation, tariffs and free trade, would be so hurtful, domestically and in the world, that he has my full attention,” Weld said.

In theory, Weld’s efforts could help Democrat Hillary Clinton, whose allies have sought to minimize support for both Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. President Obama has suggested that Americans who vote for Johnson or Stein, or who decline to cast ballots, are in effect voting for Trump.

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Asian American voters are spurning Trump — and threatening to spurn the Republican Party

Asian American voters are siding strongly with Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest, as younger voters in particular abandon Donald Trump and the Republican Party, a new poll of those voters has found.

Clinton has a firm hold on 55% of Asian American voters. When those leaning toward the candidates are counted, she leads Trump by 49 points, 70%-21%.

That puts her in striking distance of President Obama’s standing in the 2012 election, when he won 73% of Asian American voters, according to exit polls.

The results released Wednesday as part of the National Asian American Survey suggest that Trump’s rhetoric — especially on the topic of immigration — has caused an irreparable breach with those voters.

“All of the anti-immigrant rhetoric and harsh tone and language is a turnoff to voters,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a UC Riverside political science professor and associate dean of the School of Public Policy, who directed the survey.

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Bill Clinton not pleased by Mike Pence’s comments about his foundation

(Abdeljalil Bounhar / Associated Press)

Bill Clinton doesn’t appreciate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s comments about his foundation.

While campaigning in Ohio on Wednesday for his wife, Hillary Clinton, the former president called Pence’s statements at the vice presidential debate a “very cheap and unfair shot at my foundation.”

Although Clinton did not specify the exact Pence comments that irked him, the Indiana governor, who is Donald Trump’s No. 2 on the GOP ticket, had plenty to say about the Clinton Foundation.

“The Clintons figured out a way to create a foundation where foreign governments and foreign donors could donate millions of dollars,” said Pence during the debate, adding that the foundation “accepted foreign contributions from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of State.”

The Clinton Foundation, which was founded in 1997 and has raised billions of dollars for humanitarian work around the world, has undergone intense scrutiny as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House.

Bill Clinton has said that if his wife is elected he will step down from the foundation’s main board of directors and stop raising money for it. (Hillary Clinton resigned from the board last year when she embarked on her White House run.) Several changes in how the foundation raises money would also be implemented, including accepting donations only from U.S. citizens. Foreign governments and corporations, which have helped bankroll the foundation in the past, would no longer be able to donate.

While in Ohio on Wednesday, Bill Clinton lauded Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, as a “world-class problem solver” who did well in the debate.

Moreover, Hillary Clinton talked to Kaine by phone on Wednesday and praised his debate performance.

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On the road again: Al Gore to stump for Hillary Clinton, reports say

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Debate watchers: Can we nominate Joe Biden VP for life?

For some Democrats, Joe Biden owned the stage at the VP debate and he wasn’t even in the room.

Some people watching Mike Pence and Tim Kaine bicker at each other Tuesday in Farmville, Va., felt uninspired by both candidates’ performances. So, they started pining for current Vice President Biden — tweets, GIFs and memes galore.

A favorite quote: “That’s just a bunch of malarkey,” which Biden said at the Democratic National Convention in July about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s professed commitment to the middle class.

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‘Gentlemen, please’: Highlights from the vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine

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There was a clear theme that emerged from the vice presidential debate.

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Watch the full vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence

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Here’s the full vice presidential debate.

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Remember Obamacare? It’s about to reappear in Trump’s attacks, thanks to Bill Clinton

Opposition to President Obama’s signature healthcare bill, the Affordable Care Act, once moved mountains politically for Republicans, and won elections in Congress.

But it has been almost a non-issue between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign trail, as more Americans gained health insurance coverage under the law, and the GOP proved unable to rally around an alternative.

But that may soon change, thanks to former President Bill Clinton’s suggestion this week that Obamacare is the “craziest thing in the world.”

Team Trump plans to renew attacks on the healthcare law.

“It’s a huge issue that’s been left on the table,” Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Bill Clinton is our best surrogate.”

Clinton was critiquing shortcomings in the law that have left without insurance those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid or subsidies but not enough to afford insurance on the individual markets. Even President Obama has complained about the gap in coverage.

Conway promised a return to the issue of Obamacare, likely when Trump and Hillary Clinton square off Sunday at their next debate.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta put distance Wednesday between her views on the healthcare law and those her husband.

“No, she thinks it’s been a success and we need to continue it and we need to build ont it,” Podesta said.

“And I think that’s President Clinton’s position as well, that’s what he really believes, his colorful language notwithstanding.”

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#ThatMexicanThing gains steam after the vice presidential debate

Mike Pence launched a social trend for Latinos whether he intended to or not.

An off-the-cuff comment from Donald Trump’s running mate continued to gain steam online Wednesday. When his debate opponent, Tim Kaine, brought up Trump’s disparagement of Mexicans, Pence responded, “You whipped out that Mexican thing again.”

Many saw it as a dismissal of Trump’s insults or even Mexicans outright, and Latinos and others on Twitter jumped on the chance to show the GOP ticket what it means to be Mexican and Latino.

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Former Bush Homeland Security chief and Whitewater prosecutor Michael Chertoff backs Clinton

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Morning-after cleanup: Mike Pence made Trump ‘proud,’ campaign manager says

Donald Trump’s campaign manager said Wednesday that reports that the Republican presidential candidate was displeased with running mate Mike Pence’s failure to defend him at the vice presidential debate are “absolutely not true.”

Pence repeatedly declined to speak up for Trump during the debate Tuesday as Democrat Tim Kaine rehashed the long list of insults Trump has delivered against women, Mexicans, immigrants and others during the campaign.

Rather than push back, Pence often just shook his head.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said Wednesday that Trump’s tweets during the debate showed “how excited he was, how proud he was” of Pence. She said she talked to Trump during the sparring, and that Trump and Pence also spoke Tuesday.

“As Ronald Reagan always said, personnel is policy, and Donald Trump has promised as president to surround himself with the best people,” Conway said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “You saw last night who the best people are.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, acknowledged that Pence “seemed sort of likable.”

But Podesta spent more time mopping up after former President Bill Clinton’s suggestion ahead of the debate that Obamacare is the “the craziest thing,” reiterating that Hillary Clinton supports the law.

“Secretary Clinton believes the Affordable Care Act is doing great things,” Podesta said on the MSNBC show.

“She thinks it’s been a success and we need to continue it and we need to build on it.”

Bill Clinton was referring to coverage gaps under Obamacare created in states where Republican elected officials have refused to expand Medicaid or have embarked on efforts to undermine the law.

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‘That Mexican thing’ and interruptions ad nauseam

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence during Tuesday's debate in Farmville, Va.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence during Tuesday’s debate in Farmville, Va.
(Paul J, Richards / AFP/Getty Images)

Nobody expected the face-off between vice presidential contenders Mike Pence and Tim Kaine to be a scorcher.

Both Kaine, the Virginia senator running alongside Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Pence, the Indiana governor joining Donald Trump on the Republican ticket, project a demeanor that’s more dad-next-door than street brawler.

But as both running mates mounted their best cases for their tickets, the debate Tuesday in Farmville, Va., generated some interesting moments. Here’s what we’ll remember from their one and only showdown.

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Mike Pence and Tim Kaine clash in fiery vice presidential debate

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine talk with their families after their debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Tuesday.
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence fought to move the presidential race past Donald Trump’s recent stumbles and reignite Republican momentum during Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, the only one of the campaign, smoothing out some of Trump’s harshest assertions and even separating himself on some key issues.

His efforts were met with spirited resistance by Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, as they clashed repeatedly, often talking over each other and expressing irritation as they tried to frame the contest in their own terms.

Throughout the 90-minute exchange, Kaine, with an eye on the Democratic voters his campaign wants to mobilize, repeatedly cited inflammatory statements made by Trump. He often interrupted Pence to remind listeners of statements including Trump’s attack on a federal judge who has Mexican ancestry and his demeaning comments about women.

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The vice presidential candidates bicker for 90 minutes, to little effect on presidential race

Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine square off at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., in the only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election.
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

With the measured tones of a former radio host and the policy chops of a veteran politician, Mike Pence in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate delivered the performance Donald Trump failed to achieve in his recent meeting with Hillary Clinton.

The Indiana governor ticked off specific points central to the Republican ticket’s plans for Washington. He smoothly, and without a hint of embarrassment, denied that Trump had said things Trump had said. And yet he repeatedly declined to attach himself too closely to Trump’s policies and priorities.

In the end it was hard to know: How much was this debate performance meant to arrest the Trump campaign’s weeklong slide? And how much was it the first blush of Pence’s own run for president in 2020?

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An annotated transcript of the most important exchanges of the vice presidential debate

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speak as debate moderator Elaine Quijano listens during the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Tuesday.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speak as debate moderator Elaine Quijano listens during the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., on Tuesday.
(Andew Gombert / pool photo)

Times journalists annotated excerpts of the key exchanges between vice presidential nominees Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. If you see a passage highlighted in yellow, you can click on it to see what we have to say about it. You can also highlight passages and leave your own comments.

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