- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
A handful of liberal pundits have acknowledged that Donald Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, came out on top over Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, in Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate.
First was MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who declared Pence the winner of the debate.
“I don’t know why Tim Kaine kept interrupting,” he said after the Virginia event, noting Kaine’s interjections during the debate.
Matthews later added that Pence had become “probably the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2020.”
The concession from others was that Pence did very well on style.
“Tim Kaine is a very positive, ebullient character and was asked to be an attack dog here,” David Axelrod, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama, said on CNN. “And I think he wasn’t entirely comfortable in that role.”
“The strategy of interrupting was probably overdone,” he continued. “Mike Pence, stylistically, did very well.”
Sally Kohn, another liberal CNN commentator, tweeted that there “is no question that, for viewers, Pence won this debate.”
“Which is baffling,” she continued, “considering he lied every damn second!!! Argh.”
She added that Pence “couldn’t defend Trump” but that Kaine should have let Pence “dig his own holes, not pushed his advantage.”
Kohn expressed hope that the ratings for the debate “are low” and that “most will see news reports in which Pence will get MASSIVELY DINGED for his blatant lies.”
Before last week’s presidential debate, David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, told Business Insider that candidates are judged heavily on style in debates.
“Policy is important and issues are important – but these are as much about performance,” he said.