What to Expect at VP Debate, aka, Clash of 'Low-Key, Middle-Aged Guys'

Mike Pence and Tim Kaine square off Tuesday night in Virginia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2016 6:34 AM CDT
Updated Oct 4, 2016 6:49 AM CDT
What to Expect in the VP Debate
Mike Pence arrives with his wife, Karen, at a campaign rally at Cox Transportation Services in Ashland, Va., Monday Oct. 3, 2016.   (Shelby Lum/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aren't just two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in history, they're two of the oldest, adding extra importance to Tuesday night's debate between VP candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, which the AP describes as a clash between "two low-key, middle-aged guys." Analysts say both men will likely focus on their rival's running mate and the debate probably won't be packed with surprises—but there could still be some memorable moments. A round-up:

  • Politico's list of debate details notes that it is scheduled to start at 9pm EDT at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., and last for 90 minutes. Elaine Quijano of CBS News will be the moderator. To prepare, Pence has been debating Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, while Washington attorney Robert Barnett has been working with Kaine.

  • The two men are so overshadowed by their running mates that this will be "one of the least consequential vice-presidential debates ever staged," according to the Guardian. With Trump's recent stumbles, Pence is likely to be under more pressure than Kaine. "If Pence does well, he can stop the bleeding and set up Trump for Sunday night. If Pence is mediocre or is seen to have lost, it will be a long few weeks for Trump," says Lanhee Chen, a Hoover Institution research fellow who helped Mitt Romney prepare for the 2012 debates.
  • The Hill lists five things to watch for, including efforts by Kaine to defend Clinton's record and by Pence to shift the conversation away from Trump's tax returns.
  • Politico reports that Pence blasted Kaine's record as governor of Virginia during a speech in the state Monday, but signaled that he plans to spend most of his time targeting Clinton. "Clinton’s record on foreign affairs alone could take up the whole 90 minutes," he said. "And it wouldn’t be a pretty picture."
  • The Washington Post takes a look at what makes running for vice president such a "terrible job"—and it includes the "nationally televised gaffe obstacle course known as the vice-presidential debate." Viewers won't be casting their vote based on the debate, the Post notes, but they'll be looking out for blunders and for moments like Lloyd Bentsen's famous "You're no Jack Kennedy" line to Dan Quayle.
  • Polls show that around a third of Americans either don't know who the vice presidential candidates are or have no opinion, notes the New York Times, which has devised this quiz to help tell them apart.
(More vice presidential debate stories.)

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