KAINE vs. PENCE
Inside the vice presidential debate
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence face off in person for the first time Tuesday in the vice presidential debate. The nominees have a delicate task of scoring points against each other while keeping the focus on their running mates’ respective platforms. For real-time political analysis during the debate, head to Trail Guide.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Kaine and Pence are known for having milder, lower-profile personalities than their running mates, and each was regarded as a safe choice. They've each served as governors and represented constituents in Congress. Here's how they stack up:
Years in politics: 22
Current office: Senator (Va.)
Previous political offices: Virginia governor; lieutenant governor of Virginia; mayor of Richmond, Va.; Richmond city councilman
Fun fact: Plays the harmonica (and travels with one), has a famous eyebrow.
Years in politics: 16
Current office: Indiana governor
Previous political offices: Member of Congress (Ind.), led conservative Republican Study Committee
Fun fact: Hosted a morning radio show, on which he nicknamed himself "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
Here are a few key facts to know about each candidate before they take the stage Tuesday:
Watch: Tim Kaine accepts the nomination for vice president at the Democratic National Convention
Since accepting the nomination, Kaine has proven to be a powerful force for Hillary Clinton, often coming to her defense against Donald Trump's attacks and expressing clear admiration for his running mate on the campaign trail.
What Kaine brings to the ticket:
1. HE'S FLUENT IN SPANISH
Kaine, a practicing Catholic, took a year off from law school to serve as a missionary in Honduras, where he learned to speak the language.
2. HE HAS ROOTS IN SMALL BUSINESS
Kaine's father owned an ironworking business in the Kansas City, Mo., area, where Kaine grew up. The Clinton campaign hopes to use his background in small business and manufacturing as a way to attract white, working-class voters.
3. HE HAS STRONG TIES TO A BATTLEGROUND STATE
Kaine has been a fixture in Virginia politics since his election to the Richmond City Council in 1994, and he has never lost an election. He served as governor from 2006 through 2010. His deep roots in Virginia could help Clinton secure the state's 13 electoral votes.
4. HE ALIGNS WITH CLINTON ON POLICY — MOST OF THE TIME
Kaine and Clinton consistently agree on most policy positions — with the exception of abortion. Kaine, who personally opposes abortion but does not believe it should be illegal, has voiced his support for the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding of abortions. Clinton is against the amendment, and Kaine has said he will support her position. Kaine told CNN, "I had to get comfortable with the notion that I can have my personal views but I'm going to support the president of the United States, and I will."
5. HE'S UNAFRAID TO MOCK TRUMP ON THE TRAIL
Since debuting his Trump impression at the convention, Kaine has come out swinging against the GOP nominee. He routinely attacks Trump's temperament and policy positions and said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he "shouldn’t be within 10 time zones of being commander-in-chief."
Watch: Mike Pence accepts the nomination for vice president at the Republican National Convention
Trump announced on Twitter that he had chosen Pence to be his running mate. The Indiana governor, who originally endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president, has used his position as a strong conservative to help woo Republicans who may have been skeptical of Trump.
What Pence brings to the ticket:
1. HE HAS EVANGELICAL APPEAL
Pence describes himself as a "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order," and has helped the Trump campaign appeal to evangelical Christians in several key states.
2. HE HAS A CONSERVATIVE RECORD
Pence has a long record of supporting staunchly conservative positions and legislation. As governor, he signed into law the controversial "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," which opponents claim legalized discrimination towards gays and lesbians and other groups based on grounds of religious freedom.
3. HE PUTS THE ESTABLISHMENT AT EASE
Pence, who served in the House of Representatives before becoming governor, has helped Trump gain acceptance among establishment Republicans. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan has referred to Pence as a longtime friend and introduced him at the Republican National Convention.
4. HE CALMS THE WATERS
Since joining the ticket, Pence has worked to smooth over Trump's often-divisive language. When Trump at first refused to endorse Ryan or Sen. John McCain in their primary races, Pence offered his own endorsements. When Trump criticized the parents of a fallen Gold Star soldier, Pence released a statement affirming both his and Trump's support for the family
5. HE TARGETS THE CLINTONS ON CHARACTER
Pence has come out hard against both Hillary and Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. During a recent appearance in Arizona, he slammed the former president's time in the White House, saying, "I’m old enough to remember back in the last Clinton administration where America really had a debate over whether character mattered to the presidency."
Both Kaine and Pence are practicing for the debate by holding mock sessions. These are the men each nominee has chosen to play his rival in practice debates.
Kaine has enlisted the help of well-known D.C. lawyer and agent Robert Barnett to play Pence in mock sessions. Barnett has often served as a practice debate opponent for Democratic candidates in previous elections.
Pence has reportedly been holding mock sessions with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker playing Kaine, who referred to the casting as "an interesting choice" in a CNN interview.
WHO'S GOT THE EDGE?
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times "Daybreak" poll has the Trump-Pence ticket heading into the debate with a lead over Kaine and Clinton. But the race has shifted many times. A strong debate performance from Kaine could help her close the gap. If Pence dominates, he could help Trump widen his lead.
Sources: Times photography