Trump Can Learn from VP Debate
Pence put on a strong display of how to be prepared, pivot, and punch back
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence won Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate by a landslide, offering a polished, poignant performance some are suggesting Donald Trump could learn from ahead of his second face-off with Hillary Clinton Sunday.
As Pence and Virginia Sen. Time Kaine clashed during the debate in Farmville, Virginia, the well-prepared Pence maintained his cool in the face of Kaine’s incessant interruptions. In deftly dodging Kaine’s darts and refusing to become bogged down by his attacks, the Indiana governor winsomely presented the Trump campaign’s strong vision for implementing change in Washington and restoring greatness to the nation.
“This is exactly what Trump needed,” Ingraham said. “But what could Donald Trump learn from the way Mike Pence handled himself?”
“This is exactly what Trump needed,” LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham said Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “But what could Donald Trump learn from the way Mike Pence handled himself?”
Ingraham said despite the fact Pence and Trump are “totally different people” with vastly differing styles, the GOP nominee could nevertheless garner some practical insights.
“Donald Trump is not going to be Mike Pence. He’s not gonna be someone who doesn’t react to all attacks,” Ingraham said, noting that Trump cannot afford to “squander precious time” on trivial things that don’t matter.
“I think [Trump] can learn a lot from Mike Pence about the pivot, which is something you have to do in these debate settings. You can’t stay on whatever the moderator wants you to answer. You have to move to your points.”
Byron York, the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, told Ingraham the next debate for Trump will be his “last chance” to make up for his rough first performance.
“Remember we were saying that about the first debate, that it was so critical and Trump has this huge opportunity. It is a one-time opportunity. Well, it was kind of a one-time opportunity, but I do think he has another chance,” York said, noting that President Obama made a magnificent comeback in his second debate during his 2012 bid for re-election — after suffering a crushing defeat in the first one to then-GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
“It’s possible he could have another chance. But he has to be better, and to do that, he has to have been working this last week or so on a lot of this traditional stuff,” York said.
York and Ingraham pointed to how Pence spent weeks preparing for the vice presidential debate, participating in mock debates and reviewing Kaine's old debate footage during his runs for the Senate and for Virginia governor. In stark contrast, Trump eschewed these "traditional" preparation methods.
"[Pence] was 12 years in the House of Representatives in the leadership and he's been governor of Indiana for three years. He's been studying and working with policy for years and years. Donald Trump has not, so he can't just do that," York said. "But, Trump is Trump, and he has the advantage on issues over Hillary Clinton. And if he performs well, then I think he really does have a chance to get back in it."
Both Ingraham and York agreed that Trump should decrease the number of rallies he gives just before each of the two remaining events. The GOP nominee participated in a rally the day before the first debate, and he is scheduled to give another one the day before the second debate.
"I mean, I'm not giving him advice, but man — I would just have him stay put, get rested, and just focus on that debate, because I think the debate is really important," Ingraham said.
York added, "Obviously, I think Trump thinks that it gives him a sort of push of energy, this extra boost, this wind under his wings to do that. But, a debate is not a rally, and this one truly is, I think, his last chance to come out and do well before a massive TV audience."
If Trump can pull a solid second debate performance, the polls — which have been swinging up and down before meeting the middle in a continuous cycle for months — could stabilize and give Trump the edge he needs to win, York said.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a campaign surrogate for Trump, agreed that Trump's poll numbers depend on his ability to churn out a solid second debate performance.
"Now I think he can begin an ascent toward Election Day because the issues, as you indicate, reflect the concerns of the American people. Nobody is protecting their interests," Sessions said. "So I think if we can get this message and this campaign back to those fundamental issues and why Donald Trump's policies will make America stronger, better and more prosperous, then he'll be on track to regain the lead that he had twice moving forward."
In the end, Sessions believes that Trump has always had the edge over Clinton in terms of his campaign message and his willingness to both listen to and champion the concerns of the American people. If Trump can make this clear in the second debate, then he can build on Pence's boost in momentum and claim victory on Election Day — because Clinton represents "the epitome of the global Establishment special interest camp."
"This is about the concerns of the American people. They have been ignored. Hillary Clinton calls them 'irredeemable deplorables.' I mean, this is the mindset of the mainstream of Establishment power groups from globalists to Washington, D.C. They're used to running things their way, and they've stiffed the American people in their interests," Sessions concluded. "This is the kind of thing that creates an opportunity for us to elect somebody who's in tune with where the people are, and I think Donald Trump's message is there."