Please welcome Ezra Klein,everybody!
-(cheering, applause)-Welcome to the show, sir.
Let's jump straight into it.
This was exciting. Am I right?
-It was a thrilling eveningfor us all. -Yeah?
What was the craziest partof the debate for you, man?
-The beginning. When it began.-Yeah.
-So, this was, I actually think-Yeah.
it wa a weird a debate, right?
It was actually probably oneof the weirdest ones
we've seen in presidentialpolitics in a long time.
You do not typically seea running mate
go intoa vice presidential debate
and simply refuse to defendhis top-of-the-ticket
-candidate's record. -You'retalking about Mike Pence now.
-Right? He just... he just...-Maybe. Maybe.
he just flat-out refusedto defend...
I think he said one time,"I will defend Donald Trump,"
but that wasfor one specific thing.
He... You knowwhat it feels like, is, like,
he's not watching Donald Trumpthe same way we are.
Yeah, I mean, there wasa strange dimension here,
where Mike Pence won the debateand Donald Trump lost it.
Right? Mike Pencedid a good job stylistically,
and the way he did it wasby refusing to actually engage
or even admit the things DonaldTrump has been saying and doing.
-Right.-When somebody tells Mike Pence
he is Donald Trump'svice president,
-that guy's gonna be shocked.-(laughter)
-It's gonna be a terrible...-You know what? It's funny.
It feels like he did not...There were times
when he was laughing,and he was going,
"No one would say that,no one would... You guys..."
He even said to Kaine,"Where are you coming up
with these lines from?Where are you thinking of..."
This is a debate thatpeople are watching at home.
I have one questionI kept asking.
What is the pointof this debate?
So, it was strange thatthey both seemed to come in
with a different point.
Typically, the pointof a running mate debate
is to make the top of the ticketlook good.
So what Tim Kaine did was hecame in and he basically dumped
the Hillary Clinton campaign'soppo on Donald Trump.
-Yeah. -He had a list after listof every noxious thing
-Trump has said...-And he memorized the lines...
He memorized the lines, yep.Very impressive.
Mike Pence came in and madeMike Pence look good for 2020.
He didn't really try to makean architectural argument
about the Donald Trump campaign.
He split from the Trump campaignvery sharply on Russia.
If you werea Republican watching,
I think you probably felta lot of regret
that you nominatedthe other guy.
-But that wasn't good for theother guy. -Wait, wait, wait.
Do you really think it's 2020,or do you think
that Mike Pence was going,"Hey, everybody, calm down,
"'cause I'm gonna bethe real president,
so don't stress about this"?
Because we've heard storiesfrom the Kasich camp,
we've heard stories from people
who've come in contactwith Trump who say
Trump doesn't wantto be president,
Trump just wants to wave,he just wants to be, like,
in a Miss Universe pageantbut for the president, right?
That's what he wants to do.And Pence was almost going,
"I'm the real president."You didn't feel that?
No, not at...Has it been your impression
Donald Trump listensto a lot of people?
I mean thatin a very serious way.
-(laughter) -It soundslike a trick question.
Right? He... The most amazingmoment of the debate
-Yeah. -was Mike Pence wason that stage saying repeatedly
the Hillary Clinton campaignis the insult campaign.
-Yes. -Donald Trump wasliterally retweeting people
insulting Tim Kainewhile that happened.
Yes. Like,while the debate was happening.
-It was happening simultaneouslytonight, repeatedly. -Yes. Yes.
And, so, Donald Trump,one of the things
that is, I think,very fundamental about him,
his argument as a candidate hasbeen, "Look, I'm a businessman,
-I'm a manager, I will hirethe best people." -Uh-huh.
The thing we have found
over and over and over againin this campaign,
you can argue aboutwho Donald Trump is hiring,
but it almost doesn't matter--he doesn't listen to them.
He goes off and doeswhat he wants to do.
He live-tweetedhis own running mate's debate,
He, at one point, retweetedsomebody whose Twitter account
talks about white genocide.
I mean, this guyis not sitting there
working under the auspicesof staff
and a campaign architecture.
-He's just his own guy. -He'srunning everything himself.
Mike Pence is not gonna have...If Mike Pence had a lot
of influence over Donald Trump,Donald Trump would not be doing
any of the thingsDonald Trump is doing.
That's interestingthat you say that.
It felt like Pence won,as you said.
You know, Pence was out there,he was looking good,
he seemed almost presidential.
Tim Kaine, on his side, didhe do a good job or a bad job?
He, I think, stylistically...
This is the hard part abouthow the media does debates.
There's one part of us wherewe're trying to put ourselves
in the mind of a voter
who doesn't know that muchabout politics
-Yeah.-and is watching in Ohio.
Then there's the question of:did the things they were saying
on the stage add up,did they make sense?
I think Tim Kaine had a lotof stylistic trouble tonight,
but he forced Mike Pence toanswer for a lot of the things
Donald Trump has said.
Mike Pence was stylisticallyvery strong,
and he did not score a lotof points on Hillary Clinton.
So there's gonna be a lot of adscoming tomorrow where Mike Pence
is saying, "Of courseDonald Trump didn't say that,"
and then immediately,you're gonna hear
-Donald Trump saying that.-Well, the most important thing
is nobody watched,so it doesn't really matter.
-Thank you so muchfor being here. -Thank you.
Ezra Klein, everybody.