FARMVILLE, Va. — During the vice presidential debate in Farmville, Virginia, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine was caught interrupting Republican Governor Mike Pence some 72 times.
And while Pence and CBS moderator Elaine Quijano cut in as well, Kaine appeared to even break Donald Trump’s previous record. During the first presidential debate, Donald Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton 51 times compared to her relatively-meager 17.
Despite Trump’s similar style, several of his own surrogates called Kaine’s interruptions “unhinged” inside the debate’s spin room.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway shrugged off Kaine’s “canned soundbites,” but also said:
“I’m surprised that he wasn’t more prepared for the format. I learned it in kindergarten — you give the other person time to answer also. And it really did not make for very good TV.”
Sarah Huckabee, Trump advisor, called him a jerk:
“I think his goal was to look strong but I think it made him look kind of like a jerk.”
Boris Epshteyn, a Trump surrogate, took Kaine’s behavior further:
“I thought it was unbelievably weak. I thought it was disjointed. I thought it was unhinged.”
Epshteyn, much like Conway, called Kaine’s comments both “canned” yet “unprepared.”
The Clinton campaign defended Kaine’s interruptions, suggesting that he was holding his own by proving he was “tough enough” to hold Pence accountable.
“The job of the [vice president] is to defend the runningmate. … That is exactly what you saw tonight,” Karen Finney, Spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, said.
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said Kaine “defended” Clinton’s record and “stood up for their platform” by consistently cutting in.
But despite poor reception for Kaine’s inserting style, Trump campaign deputy campaign manager David Bossie said Trump isn’t going to change much of his own style ahead of the next presidential debate — which will also be held in similar format as the VP’s debate.
In particular, the second presidential debate will allow each candidate two minutes to respond to a question, and “an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion.”
Bossie doesn’t seem to mind:
“Mr. Trump is very good at focusing on debate prep. He is looking forward to the next debate and Hillary Clinton is going to have her work cut out for her … Donald Trump is not a career politician. He is never going to speak to the American people like a career politician.”
So will Trump tone it down? Guess we’ll have to see how the next one goes.
The next presidential debate will be held on October 9, and will be moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to reflect the number of times Kaine interrupted Pence. Originally, Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer said Kaine interrupted 64 times.