Before I begin discussing the VP candidates in the debates, it is essential that I speak about the moderator Elaine Quijano, of CBSN. While her makeup was done well and she had shiny hair and nice long fake lashes that accented her appearance, in my view, she was clearly not ready for prime time in moderating these debates. She was weak and let the candidates completely overpower her. She had no gravitas and her voice lacked inflection. She didn’t focus on her questions and firmly insist that they answer. instead, she let them run roughshod over her. She had no control whatsoever over the candidates and is a large part of why this debate took a negative turn in many instances. She needed to stop the interrupting immediately. Instead she did nothing.
My observations strictly involve both candidate’s body language and communication, not their political beliefs as this is a non-partisan blog.
From this standpoint, Pence came out the winner. He was cool, calm and collected and level-headed. His posture was excellent and his facial expressions and body language matched what he said. His voice was powerful and inflected and his body language and voice showed confidence.
Pence used the words “ridiculous” and “false” and made facial expressions to indicate that he thought Kaine’s accusations were ridiculous as he shook his head when Kaine said something he deemed false or over the top. He even said to Kaine “come on.”
He was not going to allow Kaine to put words into his mouth and called him on it.
On the other hand, Kaine came out of the box with hostility and with a low blow comment about about being scared of the Trump Presidency. It was uncalled for and made Kaine look bad. Pence didn’t go there until later on in the debate when he spoke of Hillary’s emails and server and confidential emails.
Kaine also had a phony grin. When he was uncomfortable, he smiled a phony smile. He seemed to be programmed with rehearsed rhetoric. When he said the slogan, “Hillary hires and Trump fires,” Pence called him on it and asked if he himself work on it.
He also came out of the box mentioning his wife. It was odd because his wife had nothing to do what he was discussing.
He continued making the same attacks we have all heard about Trump instead of speaking about what he and Hillary would do as President and Vice President. These hostile rehearsed low blows didn’t elevate him in the public’s eyes in my view.
His interrupting was done so often that it became obnoxious. It made him look very bad. It showed that he was impulsive, immature, and lacked control. As he constantly interrupted, he continued talking over Pence and tried to run roughshod over him. But it didn’t work. It was disturbing to the listener, who couldn’t hear either candidate because Kaine was speaking over Pence. What is interesting is that whenever Pence said something that hit a nerve with Kaine, Kaine interrupted, instead of waiting his turn and dealing with the issue at hand.
And what made him look even worse was that whenever any question was asked, he brought up Trump’s taxes. It was as though he had nothing else to say. He also did not answer many questions and went around in circles which made him seem like he really didn’t know the topics well. He recited rhetoric we have all heard before like a “loyal soldier,” as Pence called him. But to me, it sounded more like a “loyal parrot” who just said what he memorized. There was no genuine emotion or inflection behind what he said, only anger and hostility.
Kaine was phony in his gestures as they were not sincere. He tried to make the phony gesture we see so many politicians making, with the index and pointer finger both pinched against the thumb. Only Kaine just pinched his two fingers together while her balled the together three fingers into a fist. This indicated a lack of confidence in what he was saying.
While steepling can make you appear confident, doing it at the wrong time, like during a debate can make you appear smug and arrogant which was the case with Kaine.
In a televised shot showing the candidates from the back of the table, Kaine was seen moving and kicking his legs, indicating that he was nervous.
He also showed nervousness by sipping water four times during the debate. He was cotton or dry mouthed and he was seen swallowing hard when Pence responded to his accusations. He often licked his lips as well, which further indicated nervousness.
The pitch of his voice also reflected his nervousness as it was a little high indicating tenseness of the muscles when he spoke. It was not a commanding voice and did not reflect gravitas. He also seemed to go around in circles in discussing topics which he didn’t have a strong handle on.
While the finger point towards another person means anger, a finger pointing upwards in Western culture shows arrogance. There was a smug, tight, insincere smile and an arrogance when he spoke.
When Pence called him out on not putting words into his mouth Kaine was shaken up. He was literally taken aback as she pulled back body language wise, tightened his lips and physically retreated as you can see in the photo above.
When Pence spoke, Kaine often looked down.He did not look connected in many instances. This may have also indicated his nervousness.
What was very interesting was when Pence spoke on certain issues, Kaine shook his head “yes” as though he agreed with Pence on a subliminal level on many of these issues.
The only time Kaine showed sincerity and a lack of rote rhetoric was when he spoke of his faith.He said he was against the death penalty. But then he was confronted by Pence who profoundly wondered how someone could not be for the death penalty and not be pro life. Kaine seemed to be taken aback by this. Deep down he, no doubt, realized the hypocrisy of favoring life for a criminal and not favoring life for an unborn who was in the later stages of being formed.
If you think I am being hard on Kaine and not on Pence you are right. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with how he presented himself and he presented himself poorly. He did not come across well with his interrupting, low blows, smugness, and rote rhetoric. He did not come across well bringing up the same topic (Trumps taxes) for every question he was asked. It would be like Pence bringing up Hillary’s having a private email server in her home and mentioning the erased emails at every question. If Pence behaved as Kaine did I would have said the same thing about him. But that is not the case. Instead, Pence came across more mature, in control and more Vice Presidential or even Presidential in my view.
We must never forget that a A Vice President is only a heartbeat away from becoming a President at any time.