Rockingham - In a post-debate appearance Wednesday at a rally outside Harrisonburg, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that "Donald Trump won" the first and only vice presidential debate.
Pence said Trump called from Nevada, where Trump was making his own round of campaign appearances, to congratulate Pence on his performance.
"Pence came across as even-tempered - in contrast to his running mate - and may reassure some Republican voters with reservations about Donald Trump", he said.
Pence and Kaine went head to head in a sometimes heated debate in which the Democrat was more aggressive, repeating time and again that both the in governor and Trump himself have several times called Putin a "better leader" than U.S. President Barack Obama, adding that they are confusing dictatorship with leadership. But Democrat Tim Kaine was claiming mission accomplished for forcing his opponent to confront -or not - Donald Trump's long list of provocative remarks. Last night's contest between Kaine and Pence drew barely half that.
Some observers might conclude the tickets of both parties would be more appealing if they were flipped-that the two VP candidates are more liked and respected than Clinton and Trump, who are two of the most disliked presidential candidates in modern times.
Clinton was widely seen as the victor of last month's opening debate against Trump, and she drew an assist by the Republican nominee's subsequent missteps.
And a longtime friend of Trump's who spoke with the billionaire after his widely criticized debate performance last week said "what I worry about is him hearing Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence are better debaters than him".
"He is very good at always trying to steer the conversation back towards what he wants to talk about", she said. "After an avalanche of insults", Pence said, "[Tim Kaine] referred to us as running an insult driven campaign". Twelve percent gave Trump the win, a combined 21 percent said it was either a tie or no one won, and 4 percent were undecided.
"He's getting tremendous reviews from me and everybody", Trump told a group of pastors and leaders gathered at a Christian academy in Las Vegas.
Rolling his eyes, Trump said, "Now she's blaming the late, great Abraham Lincoln". John Harwood of CNBC spoke to a Trump advisor who described the debate results as, "Pence won overall, but lost with Trump".
The EPIC-MRA poll released Thursday morning shows 46 percent of voters would choose the Democratic candidate if the election was held immediately. But already we're seeing clear signs that winning in the moment was less important to team Clinton than relitigating Trump's basic indecency and driving a wedge between him and his running mate. "And we have to act", Pence said.
At one point, Tim Kaine, a Virginia senator, lit into Pence by saying, "When Donald Trump says women should be punished, or Mexicans are rapists and criminals..."
"I think that President Obama should apologize for Obamacare".