05 October, 2016
Two men seeking to become vice president of the United States were in Virginia Tuesday night for their only planned debate.
The two, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, spent most of the debate talking about the two main candidates for president. They also attacked the policy proposals of the other's campaign.
Pence is the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party. The Republicans chose businessman Donald Trump as their presidential candidate. Kaine is the Democratic Party's choice for vice president. The Democrats nominated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate.
The rules of the debate permitted Pence and Kaine to talk to one another during the 90-minute-long event. But they often talked at the same time or spoke up while the other was speaking.
Pence blamed Clinton's policies during her time as secretary of state for current unrest in the Middle East. He said her policies enabled the Islamic State group to grow in strength and numbers.
Pence also blamed her for what he called a "newly emboldened Russia."
Kaine said Trump cares about himself before anyone else. And he claimed Trump had business connections with Russia that he "refuses to disclose."
Both vice presidential candidates said action should be taken to protect civilians in northern Syria. Pence suggested creation of a no-fly zone there. He added that if Russia is involved in more attacks on the Syrian city of Aleppo, U.S. forces should attack Syrian military targets.
The two men also agreed on the need for criminal justice reforms.
Kaine repeatedly demanded that Trump release his tax records. Many Democrats believe they will show he has not paid federal taxes for years. Pence said Trump has operated many successful businesses and created thousands of jobs.
Kaine said Trump's plan to cut taxes would mostly help rich people and might lead to a recession. Pence said Clinton's economic plan would sharply increase taxes and government spending.
Kaine criticized Trump for his statement that more countries should have nuclear weapons. Pence said more nuclear weapons would make us safer.
After the debate, political observers said they were pleased that the two men spoke mostly about policies, instead of personalities.
John Hudak is with the Brookings Institution, a research group based in Washington, DC. He said "It stands in contrast to the first presidential debate, which was very personally oriented, very focused on scandals, very focused on guttural politics, and not so much about what the future of America is going to look like."
Lisa Spies worked for Pence when he served in the U.S. Congress. "We got details, we got facts, we got numbers," she told VOA. "During the presidential debate, we had adjectives and adverbs, and we had insults thrown at each other, and name-calling at each other. Tonight, even though there were interruptions, they were both stating what their policies would be."
Tuesday night, supporters of the two nominees accused the other side of running a dirty campaign.
John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's drive for the presidency, criticized Donald Trump.
"I think he has run an insult-driven campaign and I think that what Tim Kaine did tonight was to challenge Mike Pence to try to defend the hateful campaign..."
Representative Jeb Hensarling is a Trump supporter.
"It's clear that all the name-calling was coming from Tim Kaine. I mean, some of his charges were so over the top. It's something I would expect to see in a grocery store tabloid. I just think he lost credibility with the American people. He was just lodging charge after charge after charge."
The vice presidential debate took place five days before the next debate between Clinton and Trump. They will meet in Saint Louis on Sunday.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
VOANews reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the reports for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
disclose – v. to make public; to release
no-fly zone – n. an area where aircraft are not permitted to fly
focused – v. to direct one's attention or effort at something
scandal – n. something shocking or considered wrong
guttural – adj. of or related to the lowest level or condition of human life
adjective – n. a word that changes or modifies another word
adverb - n. a word that changes or modifies a verb
over the top – expression doing more than what is expected or normal
tabloid – n. a newspaper often having many photographs and stories about famous people and less serious news stories
lodging - v. making an official protest or criticizing