Hiller Instinct: Gov. Mike Pence won VP debate

Vice presidential candidates are traditionally attack dogs, tasked with biting the candidates at the top of the ticket.

Tonight we saw two well-prepared attack dogs, with very different styles.

What I was looking for was:  Which one of them could blend offense, and defense, and win over some of the voters their running mates haven’t yet.

Gov. Mike Pence was my winner because he did a better job of targeting undecided voters.

Unlike Trump, he was patient and professional.

Unlike Trump, he was conversational and not confrontational, and I think he may have connected with some voters who are still uncertain.

Before you call to complain that I was watching a different debate than you were, let me tell you why I thought Sen. Tim Kaine lost.

Kaine’s strategy was to criticize Trump more than to defend Hillary Clinton. But it didn’t work because Pence didn’t take the bait.

Kaine was also hurt by the split screen view of the debate. He looked as if he couldn’t wait to interrupt, which made him sound a bit like Donald Trump.

This vice-presidential debate is now in the history books, but I don’t think it will change history in any way.

Or this election.

But maybe it should.

Because, tonight, Pence and Kaine showed their running mates how to have a presidential-level debate.

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