by Max Brantley
.... it answered the question of how a man who supposedly prides himself on his virtue defends a running mate who is often bereft of it. He sets his jaw. He slows his pulse. He practices a bemused chuckle, perfects deafness to anything he prefers not to hear and purges from his memory anything he doesn’t want to own.Talking Points Memo put it this way:
That included the whole grotesque cornucopia of Donald Trump’s slurs and bad behavior, which Tim Kaine had studied up on exhaustively, knew by heart and kept throwing at Pence, pressing for the barest glimmer of shame or the slightest hint of apology. It was pointless — a point that Kaine himself made about an hour into this exercise in futility.
“Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence: I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next,” Kaine said, his voice somewhat squeaky with frustration. “And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate, and yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend.”
Mike Pence flatly rejected a number of the GOP nominee's more high-profile comments as false, even in the most open-and-shut cases.At the end of the night, the verdict was in: the running mate had virtually severed himself from the GOP nominee.
"The indelible image that will shape the debate in the coverage to come is Mike Pence repeatedly shaking his head, 'No, no, no. Donald Trump didn't say that,'” Republican strategist Steve Schmidt told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. "Almost in every instance, in fact, Donald Trump did say that.”