Moderator Elaine Quijano did her best to keep the candidates in check at Tuesday's vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., and it was a night of plenty of interruptions, aggressive challenges, and spirited defenses as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine finally met head to head, the AP reports. Some of the night's highlights:
- Both candidates came out of the gate ready to rumble, with each one playing the role of defender for their respective running mates. The AP notes that the "usually easygoing" Kaine went after Pence right from the get-go, to which the "unflappable" Pence did a lot of head-shaking, laughing, and lobbing accusations of a Kaine-Clinton "insult-driven campaign."
- Kaine did get in zingers (or what Pence at one point called an extension of the Democratic campaign's "avalanche of insults), including saying that Donald Trump "loves dictators"—"He's got like a personal Mount Rushmore: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Moammar Gadhafi, and Saddam Hussein"—and claiming that Clinton would be a "you're hired" president, while Trump would be a "you're fired" president, tapping into Trump's oft-used line from The Apprentice. Pence dismissed Kaine's lobs as "pre-done" lines, per ABC News.
- Trump's tax returns were broached, with Pence noting his running mate had faced some "pretty tough times" in the mid-'90s (including apparently taking a $1B loss in 1995), but that he worked the tax code "brilliantly" to his advantage. Kaine, however, said Trump should release his tax returns, audit or no audit, noting the GOP nominee should at least meet the "Nixon standard," per CNN. (Nixon tried to keep his tax records from the public for similar auditing reasons in 1973.)
- Russian President Vladimir Putin also entered the conversation, with Kaine accusing Trump of calling Putin a better leader than President Obama, and Pence deflecting those accusations. "Putin's run his economy into the ground, he persecutes LGBT folks and journalists," Kaine said, per the Los Angeles Times. "If you don't know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, then you have got to go back to a fifth-grade civics class."
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