NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are praising their running mates following the first and only vice presidential debate on Tuesday night.
“I’d argue that Mike had the single largest victory in the history of vice presidential debates,” Trump said.
Spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton emailed her running mate after Tuesday’s debate to congratulate him.
“Lucky to have a partner like Tim Kaine who stood up for our shared vision tonight — instead of trying to deny it,” Clinton tweeted following the debate — a subtle stab at Pence.
A focus group conducted by CBS News contributor Frank Luntz overwhelmingly agreed that Republican vice presidential nominee Pence won the debate against Kaine, citing that Kaine was “interrupting too much” during the debate.
CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports a CNN poll found Pence won the debate over Kaine — 48 to 42 percent.
Trump made a comment about Kaine’s interruptions on Twitter on Tuesday. Kaine interrupted Pence more than 60 times.
“The constant interruptions last night by Tim Kaine should not have been allowed,” Trump tweeted. “Mike Pence won big!”
Donald Trump’s campaign manager say Tim Kaine acted “like he had a tic” by mentioning Donald Trump so frequently in the debate.
Kellyanne Conway said Trump is preparing “constantly” for his second debate against Hillary Clinton. She told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Trump should be “tough but fair” against Clinton in Sunday’s debate.
The Trump campaign is denying reports the nominee was unhappy with Pence for failing to more forcefully defend his record.
“Face the Nation” moderator John Dickerson said Kaine’s interruptions “came across as just too much for viewers.”
“His demeanor and constant interruptions undoubtedly came across as just too much for viewers. Mike Pence was all the things Donald Trump was not in his debate. He had clearly studied and he was unflappable pretty much in the face of all those interruptions,” Dickerson said.
Some Mexican-Americans also took issue with Pence brushing off GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants as “that Mexican thing.”
Pence chided Kaine’s repeated mention of Trump’s comments on immigrants during Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, telling him at one point: “Senator, you’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again.”
The Indiana governor’s remark quickly became one of the most talked about moments from the forum, trending online under #ThatMexicanThing. Twitter ranks it as the third-most tweeted about moment of the debate.
Kaine and Pence ended their debate shaking hands, but for much of the night, the two went toe to toe — repeatedly talking over moderator CBSN’s Elaine Quijano as they fiercely defended their running mates, CBS2’s Craig Boswell reported.
Kaine aggressively pressured Pence to vouch for Trump throughout the 90-minute debate, often using the brash businessman’s own words. While Pence defended Trump’s tax history, he notably sidestepped criticism of Trump’s demeaning comments about women and his public doubting of President Barack Obama’s citizenship.
Kaine called attention to several past remarks Trump has made, including saying that Mexican immigrants were “bringing crime” and were “rapists,” calling women “slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting,” and saying, “I like people who weren’t captured” when talking about fellow Republican Sen. John McCain’s war record, among others.
“I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult-driven, me-first style of Donald Trump,” said Kaine said.
Pence was calm and steady in the face of Kaine’s fiery and frequent challenges. But when it came to defending Donald Trump, Pence dodged, sidestepped or was silent about some of his running mate’s most provocative words.
“He says ours is an insult driven campaign? Did you hear that? Our is an insult driven campaign?” Pence said. “To be honest with you if Donald Trump had said all the things…he still wouldn’t have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of our supporters were a basket of deplorables.”
Clinton criticized Pence for dodging questions on Trump in a tweet on Wednesday.
“At the #VPDebate, Pence tried really, really hard to pretty much deny everything Donald Trump has done,” Clinton tweeted from her account.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe thought Kaine won on substance.
“I thought Tim Kaine did exceptional. He laid out the plan that he and Hillary are going to do for this country and I thought he put Gov. Pence on the defensive right from the start,” McAuliffe said.
In the meantime, former President Bill Clinton is trying to walk back his biting criticism of President Barack Obama’s signature health care plan.
“You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people are out there busting it sometimes 60 hours a week wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half,” the former president said. “It’s the craziest thing in the world.”
On Wednesday, Clinton said, “Listen, the Affordable Health Care Act did a world of good, and the 50-something efforts to repeal it that Republicans have staged is a mistake.”
On Wednesday, both presidential candidates will be back on the campaign trail, as Clinton attends a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. while Trump holds rallies in Nevada.
The next presidential debate between Clinton and Trump will be held Sunday night in St. Louis.
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