Vice presidential candidates face off in debate, defend running mates

Sarah Philips

Vice presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine faced off in a debate Tuesday night as students observed at watch parties throughout campus.

LBJ School of Public Affairs held a watch party with Dean Angela Evans, where they ate food and discussed the debate, which primarily focused on defense of their respective running mates.

Brooke Holleman, energy and earth resources and public affairs graduate student, said she did not hear as much about the environment as she would have liked. 

“Outside of Tim Kaine talking about Hillary Clinton’s plan to invest in clean energy in terms of her jobs program, I didn’t hear anything from the other side,” Holleman said. “Natural resources is a really important issue and that wasn’t at play much here.”

Holleman said the format of the debate wasn’t well suited for a discussion of the issues. 

“It’s hard to have a discussion when you’re just trying to get points across,” Holleman said. “It would have been better suited if each side could talk and have a more structured debate rather than a discussion.”

Christopher Newman, public affairs graduate student, is an exchange student from Berlin, Germany, giving him a unique perspective on the 2016 presidential election. Because Newman is a dual citizen, he will be able to vote in November. Newman said he’s voting for Clinton and not just because he wants to vote against Trump. 

“For me, it really is a vote for Hillary Clinton not only against Donald Trump, because I think she is definitely qualified,” Newman said. “It seems strange to me that she’s having as hard a time as she is.”

Newman said his friends in Germany view American politics as entertainment and are even staying up late to watch the debates despite the seven hour time difference. 

“They are watching it with great fascination,” Newman said. “They’re staying up and watching the debates because they care a lot about the American election. They just think it’s a huge theater, it’s Hollywood on stage.”

The two candidates raised concerns with the opposing party’s nominee, such as Trump’s treatment of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and the Clinton email scandal. 

“Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot,” Kaine said. 

In regards to the Clinton email scandal, Pence said her private server was an issue of national cyber security. 

“I will also tell you that it’s important in this moment to remember that Hillary Clinton had a private server in her home that had classified information on it about drone strikes,” Pence said. “Emails from the president of the United States of America were on there … We could put cybersecurity first if we just make sure the next secretary of state doesn’t have a private server.”

The next presidential debate will be on Sunday at 8 p.m. It will be held at Washington University in St. Louis. This debate will differ from previous debates as half of the questions will be asked by uncommitted voters chosen by Gallup.