Stylistically at least, Trump’s vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence, was the clear winner of the encounter, held at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. His superiority was especially clear in the early stages. Pence was steady and controlled in those crucial moments while Kaine interrupted and appeared overly aggressive, even to independent observers.
Pence defended his running mate’s more controversial statements where he could and danced away from other issues with a shake of his head.
Some of those dissenting gestures could become problematic later; Pence appeared to deny things that Trump had, in fact, done or said, such as praising Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Overall, however, Pence showed the kind of focus that was widely felt to be lacking in Trump’s own performance in his first clash with Clinton last week.