Return to Transcripts main page


Analysis of Tonight's Vice Presidential Debate. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired October 4, 2016 - 00:00   ET


[23:59:58] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN PRODUCER: And finally, who was more likable in this debate? 53 percent of debate watchers said Mike Pence was more likable. 37 percent said that about Tim Kaine -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: It's interesting, your data, because Governor Pence seemed a little bit calmer than Tim Kaine did.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot calmer, especially at the beginning. Tim Kaine seemed almost frenetic, trying to get in as much as he could with so many of the points that he wanted to get in there that he was kind all over the place. He seemed to kind of calm down himself. But never as much as Mike Pence. So there is no surprise that that's where the numbers were on that.

The thing that I also found interesting is that Tim Kaine got 58 percent of those who were asked about how they represented their boss. And -- or the person at the top of the ticket.

From the very beginning of the debate, we all kind of looked at each other when Tim Kaine uttered his first few sentence, talking about trust over and over again. That was no accident because that was his job, to talk about the things that are some of Hillary Clinton's Achilles heels. And trust as we know from the polling that we've been looking at for a year plus is one of them.

BLITZER: This instant poll showed that Governor Pence had won this debate over Tim Kaine. And more Democrats actually were watching this -- apparently watching this debate. So those numbers probably were even higher.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And so no doubt Mike Pence did himself well. He was found to be more likable. The people watching thought he won the debate. I think that not defending Donald Trump, and that shows up that they viewed Tim Kaine as much more aggressive in defending Hillary Clinton than Mike Pence was in defending Donald Trump -- I think that will be part of the political conversation.

That's certainly the political conversation going on. Democrats are saying he couldn't defend Donald Trump and wouldn't defend Donald Trump. Conservatives, a lot of them are saying he was smart to pivot instead of trying to defend things that Donald Trump has said, some of which are frankly indefensible but to just talk about other issues in the debate. Not to throw any -- not to be the skunk at the garden party, you said at the beginning, this is the one and only vice presidential debate. There is not much of a history that vice presidential debates change races. People vote for president, not vice president.

One that came to mind watching this, when you do have one viewed clearly as a winner was Lloyd Benson in 1988 -- my first campaign; he was viewed overwhelmingly of the debate against Dan Quayle. George H.W. Bush won 40 states.

BLITZER: Fair point. Good historic reference.

We have more reality checks coming in. Tom Foreman and Jim Sciutto have been going through the various statements.

Tom Foreman, first to you.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tim Kaine tried to shove Donald Trump on to the third rail of politics -- social security.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump wrote a book, and he said social security is a Ponzi scheme and privatization would be good for all of us.


FOREMAN: A Ponzi scheme is a scheme where you take money from one group of investors and you give it to another group of investors to imply you have a solvent, sustainable business when you really don't.

And yes, Donald Trump has suggested that's social security. You're taking money from young people, using it to pay for the retirement of older people, and it can't really last.

And in his book in 2000 he said "Does the name Ponzi all of the sudden come to mind when talking about social security?" Beyond that, he also said "privatization would be good for all of us".

Many politicians here would rather shave their heads than run the risk of being caught talking about changes to social security. Trump may be one of them. Because now he says he won't change it at all. Nonetheless, he did say what Kaine said. Absolutely true -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting. Jim Sciutto, you've been also doing a reality check. What are you finding out?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. The rise of ISIS in Iraq and crucially who is responsible. Here is Governor Pence tonight.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Iraq has been overrun by ISIS because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate. Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement.

KAINE: No, that is incorrect.



PENCE: So we remove all of our troops from Iraq. And ISIS was able to be conjured up in that vacuum and overrun vast areas of Iraq.


SCIUTTO: So his claim there that ISIS has overrun Iraq due to the failures of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. So let's look at the facts. The fact is since it first swept into Iraq in 2014 ISIS has actually been in a slow but gradual retreat.

Let's have a look at the map to see that. In the last few months it's lost these key areas -- Fallujah, Ramadi, close to the capital Baghdad and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces getting close, up to Mosul, the second largest city. In fact, plans to retake that city coming in the next few weeks we're hearing from U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The U.S. special envoy for Iraq, Brett McGurk, says since 2014 ISIS has actually lost about half of the territory it once held in the country. So while parts of the country certainly ravaged by ISIS, no one is questioning that, the situation since then has changed on the ground.

So our verdict going back to Governor Pence's claim that ISIS has overrun Iraq as of today -- it's false. He's inflated the group's hold over the country right now -- Wolf.

For this and all of other tonight's fact checks go to

[00:05:05] BLITZER: Good idea.

Good work, guys. All right, stand by. I want to go back to Jake right now -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Wolf. We have some new panelists here. I want to get their take on the debate. As we said, David Gergen, what did you think?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I thought overall it was a much more civilized debate, much more substantive than what we heard in the presidential debate. It reminded me of old traditions, just the way politics used to be played out. And I was -- I thought that was heartening.

Overall I don't think that Mike Pence changed the underlying dynamics of the race. But I he did Donald Trump a great service. He didn't throw him under the bus. He gave the impression he stood with him and championed him. But more importantly, I think he gave heart to a lot of Trump supporters who may have been dispirited by the last ten days or so. And I think he may have stopped the bleeding. I don't think he turned the momentum of the race but he may have stopped the bleeding for a while.

It certainly gives Donald Trump a chance in the second debate to get back on track. It was a good introduction, a good bridge from the mess they've been in for the last ten days.

TAPPER: You think a vice presidential debate can do that? Can stop the bleeding?

GERGEN: I do. I do. And I thought he was -- he was -- you know, I thought Tim Kaine frankly was over prepared. He came in wound up. He was too tight. He had a lot of those interruptions.

And there was something strange about the camera angle that was really off-putting. And somehow they had him sort of off camera instead of into the camera. I don't know who was responsible for that. But it made him much less effective than he ordinarily is. I didn't think we saw the warmth and the likability of the Tim Kaine that most of us know.

TAPPER: Interesting.

Corey Lewandowski, formerly of the Trump campaign -- you obviously think that Mike Pence had a good night. Let me ask you. Do you think the fact that Pence is perceived to have had a better night tonight than Donald Trump had last week, might that rub Mr. Trump the wrong way?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think so. I think what you have in Donald Trump, he picked a vice presidential candidate who he knew was going to help him on the ticket. And we saw that tonight, right?

This is the first tire of the Trump administration. He goes out of all the choices, he picks Mike Pence. Mike Pence had a good night tonight by all accounts. He was poised. He was articulate. He was smart. He was not rattled.


LEWANDOWSKI: And what he did -- no, that's not true -- and what he did do is he went out and he outlined the case of why this administration, the Trump administration would be different than the Hillary Clinton administration. That's something I think was very important for Mike Pence to do going forward.

And he answered the questions that he wanted to answer moving forward -- very important once again. I think Mike Pence did an excellent job tonight. I think the public polls say that. And I think, you know, at the end of the day you're going to see that this was a good thing for the Trump campaign.

TAPPER: Maria Cardona?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree mostly with David. I think that Trump is going to move forward probably in a little bit of a better position.

But I do think what Kaine did brilliantly is that yes, he interrupted and yes he talked about all these issues that Donald Trump has said. But I think that was necessary. Because one of the things that they wanted to get out of this debate is for people not to forget all of the holes that Donald Trump has been digging himself in.

So I think the fact that he kept talking about taxes, that then he linked the taxes with the bromance with Putin I think was really important. They talked about immigration.

And you know what else, Jake? I just came from doing two hours of analysis on CNN Espanol. You know what is trending there? The "you whipped out that Mexican thing again", Senator Kaine.


CARDONA: That is not going to go well with a demographic.

TAPPER: Can you remind our viewers what "whipped out that Mexican thing" means in the context of the debate?

CARDONA: Sure. There was I think a moment when they were talking about abortion, I believe. And Tim Kaine started the litany, which he did quite often, again I think very effectively even though it was off-putting for a lot of people. But there was a lot of strategy in there.

He kept talking about -- he talked about the abortion and women's rights. Then he talked about how Trump called Mexicans rapists and criminals. And as soon as he did that, Pence looked exasperated and he said "There you go again, Senator, whipping out the Mexican thing."

TAPPER: In fact we have that clip. Let's play it.


PENCE: You whipped out that Mexican thing. Look --


PENCE: -- there criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking --

KAINE: You want to use a big tar brush against Mexicans?

PENCE: He also said many of them are good people. You keep leaving that out of your quote.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CARDONA: And so I think what that did was it continued to solidify to a very important demographic of voters, and I think either Donald Trump has completely written them off or the Republican Party has not understood yet that a Republican cannot get to the White House without at least 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. They have done nothing to try to stop the bleeding there. And tonight they did not add. They did a lot of subtraction when it came to that demographic.

LEWANDOWSKI: That's not true. You know what they did tonight? They talked about America first. That's exactly what this Trump campaign has been about is putting Americans first.

What Mike Pence talked about tonight has been the hallmark of the Donald Trump campaign which is immigration reform. He outlined the fact that Hillary Clinton is for open borders. She is for amnesty.

[00:10:10] CARDONA: -- which is a lie. And that's a lie, too.


LEWANDOWSKI: The American people don't want amnesty and they don't want open borders. They want a safe and secure America. Excuse me, it's my turn. Your turn is next. They want a wall. And that's what Mike Pence outlined.


JONES: Well, look, here is the thing. First of all, you're as usual lying about Hillary Clinton's record. But we have time to talk about that.

LEWANDOWSKI: I follow in Kaine's steps. He likes to lie. I figured I would just follow him.

CARDONA: The liar tonight was Pence, by the way.

JONES: There is such a long list of lies and you could go online. But here is the thing. We can argue about that later.

I think that you guys sometimes just don't understand how stuff lands. And I think it hurts your candidacy. I think it hurts your party. When you say "whip out that Mexican thing," the way that sounds is very dismissive.

LEWANDOWSKI: Almost like "deplorables" -- really, really bad.


CARDONA: It sounds awful.

JONES: And I've been --

LEWANDOWSKI: Not one apology for that.

JONES: First of all she apologized.

LEWANDOWSKI: No, she didn't.

JONES: Please, please. I thought you said you don't like interruptions. Wait, wait, stop.

TAPPER: Let Van finish. Let Van finish.

JONES: Let me finish. I'm trying to help you.

LEWANDOWSKI: I love help.

JONES: I love you. And I want you to do better because you're doing really bad right now when it comes to Latinos and black vote. And part of it is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the helping part?

JONES: That's the helping part.

LEWANDOWSKI: We can use some more of those.

JONES: Seriously -- there is a dismissiveness. This was a painful moment for Latinos when he said that. I know he tried to qualify it, but you can't say it wasn't painful. It shouldn't have been -- you don't want it to be painful but it was a painful moment.

So when you have an opportunity, and you got one of your best people up there now, Pence, with an opportunity to really deal with it and put it away, instead he steps in it. He steps on a rake tonight and you don't even know it.

If you look on Twitter, trending right now is your guy going down in flames with Latinos.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know what is also trending is Clinton Foundation, Mike Pence because he did very well. You know, I understand we like to analyze every syllable. And the only two syllables we could find in this debate to criticize Mike Pence on were saying the Mexican thing which is --

JONES: And all the lies.

MCENANY: -- he was exasperation.


MCENANY: -- from the Clinton campaign. And if we want to talk about things landing wrong how about when Tim Kaine was asked about terrorism in Syria and Aleppo and he pivots to Donald Trump's taxes. How tone deaf and out of touch can you be? The American people are scared of ISIS right now. They're hurting economically. And your team only wants to go down in the mud.

It's unfair to the American people. And Mike Pence did the American people a favor tonight by being positive, focusing on issues and telling Americans what his plan is to fix the economy and terrorism. DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One small thing I would

take exception with when Pence said that, and he said that many of them were good people. That's not what he said. He said "I assume some of them are good people." It was an offensive quote. And Donald Trump has been paying for it with Hispanic voter. But also with people who have sensibilities about these issues since.

I do believe that Tim Kaine's greatest moments in this debate, finest moments in this debate are the ones in which his true essence came out on the issue of faith and choice and the death penalty. On the issue of crime and guns and the one difference that is meaningful to the American people was on this issue of background checks. But I think that he spoke compellingly on that.

I think he was sent in to level attacks and sometimes he didn't look comfortable doing it. The tax attack was repeated probably too much and he interrupted too much. And it wasn't becoming. And it wasn't him. And it felt like it wasn't him.

GERGEN: That's right. That's very important.

AXELROD: So I think he did well on substance. I think he laid down some tracks that are going to be useful for the Clinton campaign. I don't think at the -- I agree with you that I think Republicans will be heartened by this and it will hold the fort until Sunday when Donald Trump has to perform. But I don't think there is a lasting impact. But I think Tim Kaine did sacrifice himself tonight.


AXELROD: To follow the game plan.

CARDONA: And kind of break the momentum a little bit.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Hillary's great momentum that she's had and it keeps Republicans from panicking. But when we talk about authenticity and politics and why all of us when we look at a politician, we say oh, that person is authentic. That person is real.

Tim Kaine is somebody when you saw his announcement speech, for example, and he spoke Spanish, and he was relaxed and Hillary Clinton was smiling behind him. That was kind of an authentic moment for Tim Kaine. And tonight, to echo what David is saying, he just didn't seem comfortable on the attack. And he is not really good as an attack dog, sitting face-to-face with somebody. It's not a comfortable position for him.

[00:15:00] And Mike Pence is quite good at deflecting it and being calm and cool about it. And if Kaine was trying to get under his skin, which he probably was, it didn't work. I mean it's easier to get under Donald Trump's skin.

HENDERSON: I don't think he got under his skin. But I think what he was able to do was keep putting this stuff on the record. Keep putting the stuff on the record about Putin, keep putting the stuff on the record.


HENDERSON: In some ways it's where the campaign is right now, right? Hillary Clinton has the wind in her sails. Donald Trump is down. And they just -- she kept pummeling him as he was down.

AXELROD: Just one second. As a debater, when the other guy like on the Putin stuff, Pence laid down a very muscular argument. It just wasn't Donald Trump's argument. And so I think that was for Kaine a bit confusing because he was making points off the record. And Pence was saying no, that's not true. And you know, so that created some confusion. All said, I think that they both scored and we move on and Sunday's the big event.

GERGEN: Yes. I thought that Kaine had marshaled his arguments. He knew his facts. He knew his quotes. He knew them really, really well. But those were so familiar that it wasn't -- it didn't strike home. It didn't really sort of impress you the way I thought it might.

And Pence actually seemed pressured. He seemed like a person we hadn't heard from in this campaign very much. I thought that worked in his favor. There seemed to be an adult around Trump. And we've been looking for that for a long time.

TAPPER: So many of you talk about Kaine perhaps seemed over-prepared, over-rehearsed. He did definitely come armed with a bunch of lines, a bunch of zingers. Let's listen to some that.


KAINE: He loves dictators. He has kind of a personal Mount Rushmore -- Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Moammar Gadhafi.

PENCE: Oh please. Oh, come on.

KAINE: And Saddam Hussein. And last and most dangerously, Donald Trump believes -- Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. He said Saudi Arabia should get them. Japan should get them. Korea should get them. And when he was confronted with this and told wait a minute, terrorists could get those. Proliferation could lead to nuclear war.

Here is what Donald Trump said, and I quote, go ahead, folks. Enjoy yourselves. I would love to hear Governor Pence tell me what is so enjoyable or comical about nuclear war.

QUIJANO: Governor Pence?

PENCE: Did you work on that a long time? Because that had a lot of really creative lines in it.

KAINE: I want to see if you can defend any of it.

PENCE: Look, I can defend -- I can make very clear to the American people. After traveling millions of miles as our secretary of state, after being the architect of the foreign policy of this administration, America is less safe today than it was the day that Barack Obama became president of the United States.


TAPPER: It was a very interesting exchange -- Pence laying out a very muscular prosecution of Clinton and Obama at the end there. But it's interesting because Kaine has all these lines and all these attacks, and he says I would like to see if you can defend any of it. Pence says look, I can defend and then he stops himself and says I can make very clear. He doesn't defend any of it.

AXELROD: Right. And that happened throughout the debate. The question is like Kaine had that Mount Rushmore line. That was clearly a line he came with, with the whole case have been more effective if he had skipped the embellishment and just raised some individual points here with a little more sobriety and a little less flourish.

I think the answer is probably yes, he is not that kind of guy. He is not the sort of kind of line guy. When he tries to land them, he is not effective. What Pence did, he did effectively all night I thought which was he just didn't answer. He had that look like "Ridiculous, who would say things like that?"

Well, Donald Trump said things like that.

JONES: There were three times. Because I keep saying that you got Pence up there, and he is just basically lying. He is smooth. He looks great. He wins on points, but he is basically lying. And the Trump people keep saying he is not lying. Wait a second.

I just want to go through the list. On nuclear proliferation it is in fact the case that Trump has said hey, more nukes. Pence says Trump never said that. That's not true.

16 million deportations -- that's in fact a Donald Trump policy. He said it. Nonsense, according to Pence, it's not true. Banning Muslims -- you go through all these different things that in fact Trump has said that tonight in front of millions of people, Pence just straight-up lied and said Trump didn't say it.

So that is part of the problem. Pence did great for himself by throwing Donald Trump under the bus, not as a person, but his ideas. The ideas that Donald Trump came to prominence on were thrown under the bus tonight. That happened.

LEWANDOWSKI: Jake, here is what happened. Last Monday night we sat here and we analyzed the presidential debate and we said Donald Trump sat here on the defense for the last 45 minutes and answered every single question that Hillary Clinton posed to him. And he was crucified for it when instead he should have been attacking her and been on the offense.

[00:20:05] What we saw tonight was you can't criticize Mike Pence for not being on the offense the entire time and saying he didn't answer every single retort. That Pence --


JONES: That's all. Just tell the truth.

LEWANDOWSKI: -- further, Mike Pence was very clear. He said if your son or my son who both serve in the military did what Hillary Clinton did, they would both be court-martialed. And Tim Kaine said you're not telling the truth. That is absolutely the truth. It's unequivocal it's the truth and both of those boys would be court- martialed if they did what Hillary Clinton did.

Tonight Mike Pence talked about the e-mails. It was not discussed last time. He talked about Obama care. Not discussed last time. Hopefully the American people hear more about this on Sunday night because I think these are the issues that people want to talk about.

TAPPER: Kayleigh, you wanted to say something?

MCENANY: No. I think that's exactly right. You can't have it both ways. You can't expect to hit -- you know, last week Donald Trump's offense and this week came to play defense. In fact Kaine -- excuse me, Pence had a very good debate. He was very strong on the issues.

And what this shows me is this is -- the judgment of Donald Trump. Donald Trump picks the right people. It's why he has a $10 billion brand that has been very successful. It's why Mike Pence did so well tonight.

These are the kind of hires you're going to see in the Trump administration. The Hillary Clinton administration you're going to see no new ideas, the status quo. We're better than Trump so we're going to spend the entire 90 minutes criticizing.

TAPPER: Kayleigh I totally hear what you're saying about Trump took the bait. He got hammered. Pence didn't take the bait and he is being criticized by Van and Maria.

But I think that what Van saying is true. I mean Donald Trump did say that nukes for other countries, Japan and South Korea and what was the other? There was a third.

BORGER: It was Japan and South Korea.

TAPPER: And another country.

BORGER: Saudi Arabia.

TAPPER: Saudi Arabia. Those were things that would be possible because the United States was no longer going to protect them under the nuclear umbrella. He did say that. He did call for a Muslim ban.

JONES: Deportations -- exactly.

TAPPER: And he did, back in December on "Morning Joe" called future a deportation force. Those are facts. JONES: And Pence said, no, no, no, no. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.

It is a lie.

MCENANY: It is a fact Donald Trump wants a ban on folks from countries that have terror ties. It is a fact that Donald Trump has laid out his priorities. And his priorities are not going into house and raiding, taking people from their home. That's actually an Obama administration policy, by the way. They've actually gone into homes. I've seen it firsthand working at an immigration non-profit in Miami. So I've seen it.


LEWANDOWSKI: It's also a fact that he wants to increase Syrian refugees by 550 percent into this country.

CARDONA: That is not true.


LEWANDOWSKI: It is unequivocal. It is a fact.

TAPPER: She said 55,000 for this year. And we should welcome -- it's a figure that was extrapolated out but it is true 55,000.

JONES: And we should welcome them here.

GERGEN: I think Van makes a good point. I think the fact checkers will find that in fact Tim Kaine was much more closer to the facts than was Mike Pence. I think that's -- and Kaine was substance.

But the point of all of this, for better or for worse, voters don't scrutinize debates line by line. And they don't think of it as fact checkers. They try to take in the totality of what they're hearing, the tone of what they're hearing, and the general line of argument. And I think on that Pence was very effective.

TAPPER: I agree with that.

GERGEN: If you go back -- the day after you say a lot of this doesn't work. But, you know, people walk away tonight thinking Pence won the debate. And that's going to be the story.

CARDONA: Except for I would say on the truthfulness or lack thereof, I think what Mike Pence tonight did is he proved that he was actually -- he was actually following in his boss's footsteps. Because let's remember that up until recently, there have been scores of reports and investigative reporters actually making the case that Donald Trump has been the most dishonest presidential candidate in modern history -- counting his lies every time he opens his mouth. 70 percent of the things he says are lies. He lies every three minutes and 15 seconds.


CARDONA: So today -- so today when Pence starts saying these things, which many of the American people know are just not true, that is going to continue to sink in. And while Pence did well tonight, the ticket didn't do well. While Kaine might not have done as well, the ticket did well.

TAPPER: Let me just make one quick fact check, which is ironically we're talking about a fact check, I think it's 70 percent of the things that a fact checking Web site fact checked were found not to be true. It's not 70 percent of the things out of his mouth.

MCENANY: Right. Fair enough.

BORGER: I just want to say if you're a conservative and you're worried about what happens to the Republican Party should Donald Trump lose, then you look at this debate tonight, and you go there is hope because Mike Pence was a conservative. He talked about a lot of stuff that you don't hear Donald Trump talk about. But he also kind of toed the line in certain ways for Donald Trump.

[00:25:00] So while he did throw him under the bus on certain issues, he did defend him in other ways on immigration, for example. But he also sounded like a conservative Republican. And so if you're a Republican watching this, you're thinking ok, the party will still survive even if Donald Trump doesn't.

TAPPER: I know you disagree with the notion that Mike Pence threw Donald Trump under the bus. And I respect it. So let me ask you. Donald Trump's answer on Putin is different than Mike Pence's. Mike Pence insulted Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump calls him a strong leader, represents his country well. Wouldn't you like to have a nice relationship with Russia? Isn't that a split?

LEWANDOWSKI: No. When they asked what is the relationship with Russia going to be like? What is the difference between a Clinton administration and a Trump administration? What was Mike Pence's answer this what was his answer? Strength. We'll be tough. We'll be respected.

And then Kaine went on to say well, Hillary Clinton has gone toe to toe with the Russians. It's all a lie. It's not true at all. And the difference is Donald Trump unequivocally is going to be tougher with foreign leaders than Hillary Clinton is going to be.

If Hillary Clinton was so smart and so sophisticated when it came to foreign policy, why did she get the Brexit vote wrong? It's a simple question. She is the secretary of state and called the Brexit vote wrong --

JONES: The whole world called it wrong.

LEWANDOWSKI: No, actually Donald Trump called it right.


LEWANDOWSKI: -- Brexit was going to pass and failed.

GERGEN: It's just not true that Donald Trump has given evidence that he is going to be tougher with the Russians than Obama has been. You may think Obama has been too week.

LEWANDOWSKI: Polling data said so.

GERGEN: When you start saying -- that data may be obsolete and you're not sure if you're going to come to the defense of Europe, if you don't think that gives incentives to Putin to play games with Latvia and other states around that, you're misreading the world.

Putin will take every advantage he can. And Trump has given him card after card, invitation after invitation to be mischievous.

LEWANDOWSKI: What he has also said is we need to rebuild our military. And there is peace through strength. Mike Pence said that tonight. Peace through strength. What he said is our military is the worst shape it's been from ground troops since World War II -- since 1918. Our ships, where we are in the navy -- we need to rebuild our military. That's something this administration has failed to do.

And peace through strength worked under the Reagan administration thanks to Dick Cheney when he was secretary of defense and it would work again.

TAPPER: All right. Let's take a quick break. I'm going to throw it back to Wolf Blitzer in Virginia -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much.

I want to go right back to our reality checks. Tom Foreman and Jim Sciutto are doing more of these reality checks for us.

Tom Foreman -- what are you finding out?

FOREMAN: Yes Wolf, back on this side of the planet, Tim Kaine went after a real kitchen table issue. What Donald Trump would do to minimum wage workers?


KAINE: First, Donald Trump said wages are too high. And both Donald Trump and Mike Pence think we ought to eliminate the federal minimum wage.


FOREMAN: Well, did Donald Trump really say that? He was asked about this idea of raising the minimum wage last fall from $7.25 up to around $15 an hour, which has been a popular number to talk about out there. And Donald Trump did say at the time he does think wages are too high. We're not going to be able to compete against the world. That was his rationale for that.

He has suggested that each state should decide on what is appropriate for minimum wage there, and that maybe a federal minimum wage doesn't work so much. Beyond that, he did say that people have to get more. He said that this spring when asked more about people trying to struggle by on minimum wage. In the end, though, what we do have to say is that his basic claim about this is true, that it was the claim of Donald Trump but there are a lot of caveats many there. It's also a bit misleading -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Tom.

Jim Sciutto -- you're doing a reality check as well.

SCIUTTO: That's right -- Wolf. The topic here always controversial in the race, the Clinton Foundation. Listen to Governor Pence tonight.


PENCE: The Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of state.


SCIUTTO: You heard the claim there. Governor Pence charging the Clinton Foundation accepted these donations from foreign countries at the time that Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. This one is actually pretty easy to check out. Go to the Web site of the Clinton Foundation and it notes that the Clinton Foundation has accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments, this while Clinton was secretary of state.

But to be clear, they've been very open about this. In fact, the foundation put restrictions on the funding, one being that they would have to report them to the State Department's ethics department, which they did. There is some reporting that they didn't on one donation from Algeria. But in general, they followed those rules.

Regardless, though, the verdict here pretty straight forward. Because remember Governor Pence's claim was simply did the foundation get these donations while she was secretary of state? On that charge we rate it true.

Remember, for this and all of tonight's reality checks, very easy. Go to our Web site, -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much -- Jim Sciutto and Tom Foreman.

[00:30:03] You know, Dana, the reality checks are very important. But the average viewer is going to emerge from that 95-minute or so debate with an impression about these two vice presidential running mates at how that impacts the presidential nominees.

DANA BASH, JOURNALIST AND ANCHORWOMAN FOR CNN: And how that impacts the presidential nominees is obviously the only thing that matters in this whole ball game. So the question is going to be whether or not Mike Pence staying calm, pivoting, not necessarily defending Donald Trump is going to matter. And the answer to that is going to be whether or not each campaign can spin it and whether or not the people -- the top of the ticket can keep the narrative going. BLITZER: Everybody stand by. We're going to check back with our focus

group of undecided voters in Virginia. Did tonight's debate help them make up their minds? That, much more of our results from our exclusive CNN instant poll of debate watchers. That coming up.


BLITZER: Let's get back to our focus group of undecided voters. Right now, Pamela Brown is with them in Richmond, Virginia. Pamela, these voters are telling you they didn't particularly like when Tim Kaine kept bringing up Donald Trump's taxes. Let's listen.




KAINE: ... every president since Richard Nixon has done it. And Donald Trump has said, I'm doing business with Russia. The only way the American public will see whether he has a conflict of interest.

PENCE: No one has said that.


BLITZER: Pamela, what are they telling you about this moment?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, Wolf, because the big attack lines for Clinton, of course, is about her e- mails. And for Trump, it's about his taxes. But the group of 28 undecided voters here simply didn't like it when that came up during the debate. So I want to find out why from Dan here. Why didn't that resonate with you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think we were all kind of waiting for Pence to pull the Chris Christie-Marco Rubio moment and say, you know, if you bring this up again, this kind of memorized tactic that he had. And we've just all been pummeled to death with this -- the Trump tax issue.

And the only thing interesting that came up tonight was Pence brought up possible some sort of connection, some foreign connection related to Trump's taxes. And that was a little bit interesting. But not really certain, you know, what's going to come of that. But I think we're just really tired of hearing about the Trump tax.

BROWN: Why did that stand out for you when Pence brought that up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, any time there is kind of a sensationalization, there is some sort of scandal implied, you know, I think people are interested in that. And it will be interesting to see what comes to light when the taxes are released. BROWN: All right. Now I want to ask Darryl over here. What your main

take away was? Because you had a pretty strong feeling after the debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My biggest thing is if you're going to be the vice president, then at some point in time, you have to be able to take over being the president of the United States. What I was looking for in this debate was whether Tim Kaine or Mike Pence would actually be able to show me that they can be the commander in chief.

I'm a retired and disabled veteran from the army. And I take that to be a very important part of that job, of those duties. So what I really wanted was to see which one of these men would be able to actually do that. I really didn't see that. I did see glimpses. I did see glimpses. But overall, I really didn't see what I want to see as far as them supporting their candidates that they're supposed to be supporting.

BROWN: And what the issues that affect your life? Do you think that that was addressed enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, actually, no. Even today there was a report about the V.A. hospitals still not giving the support and the care that they need to. And that's my primary care. I'm a disabled veteran. So I go to the V.A. to get my care.

So, to be able to hear that today, that the V.A. hospitals aren't doing all that they need to do, now I can speak for myself that the hospital that I go to here in Richmond gives me excellent care. But obviously that is not the case across the country. And I think that is something that is still not being addressed as much as it should be by the candidates.

BROWN: So there you hear, Wolf, that the undecided voters here really wanted to hear more substance and more about the issues that impact their lives directly. Wolf?

BLITZER: Fair enough, Pamela. But now I want the big question of the night. Did this debate impact anyone's vote at the focus group you're attending?

BROWN: It sure did. In fact, let's take a tally here. I want to ask everyone in the group, after watching this debate, who in this group will now vote for the Clinton-Kaine ticket come November? Raise your hand. All right. So as you see, we have five people who say they will vote for Clinton-Kaine.

Let's look at Trump-Pence. Raise your hand if you will vote for them come November. Two people. And those still undecided, still have no idea who they're going to vote for, raise your hands. All right, Wolf, as you see, a majority here in this room at the University of Richmond still undecided.

BLITZER: Interesting stuff, Pamela. Please thank all the members of that focus group in Richmond, Virginia. Jake, back to you. JAKE TAPPER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT FOR CNN: Thanks, Wolf.

We're here with our panel. Virginia obviously a very important battleground state. Richmond basically Tim Kaine's hometown and still a lot of undecided voters.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: That's why I think that, you know, these vice presidential debates usually are not dispositive one way or another. I don't think it's gonna change many people's votes. And I think that's what we're, you know, I think that's what we're seeing tonight. And I think that if you are a Trump supporter, you like a lot of stuff that Mike Pence was saying. And if you're a Hillary supporter, you like a lot of stuff Kaine was saying.

The one thing I think that one of the people in this focus group spoke about was the sort of canned lines and taking the turn to taxes when it didn't seem natural. He was trying to make the point about Russia which we all understand. But it seemed forced very often from Kaine, who wanted to be on the attack all the time. And I think, you know, voters can see through that when it...

[00:40:00] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: But voter also suggested that maybe there was something there. And he wanted to see those taxes. And maybe there was something nefarious with Trump's taxes and foreign...

BORGER: Kaine didn't have it.

HENDERSON: ... and foreign investments. I think that's what they were doing. I mean, they wanted to try balloons. There was much on the wall and see what stick with some of these voters and clearly at least something about that tax thing stuck with that voter.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, first of all, I do think I'll say it again that I think the constant interruptions didn't work for Tim Kaine. And I think that he did beat the tax thing into the ground to the point where it became a distraction. That said, the issue that he raised there that Pence mocked him for is an important issue.

We know that Donald trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars. We know that he is not going to give up his company, he said that, when he becomes president of the United States. How is it that he could get elected president without anyone knowing to whom he owes this money?


AXELROD: Because that seems like real leverage. And so this is a genuine issue related to the tax returns. That I think has been under- reported.

BORGER: And Hillary raised it during the debate.

TAPPER: I'm sure we'll hear more of it on Sunday. Corey?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AT CNN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: A couple things, right? We saw Mike Pence tonight, the first choice of the Trump administration, his first hire as a vice president, clearly capable of God forbid stepping into the role of president if he needed to do that, right? Obviously very important setting that stage.

The second thing is Donald Trump has been very clear. If he is elected president, he said this on multiple occasions, he will step away from his company. His children will run the company. He'll have nothing to do with it because he'll be out running the country every single day. So, it's not that he will...


AXELROD: When I went to the White House, I sold -- I had two companies and I sold them because I didn't want any conflicts of interest.

LEWANDOWSKI: David, with all due respect, you didn't have 10,000 employees and operate, you know...

AXELROD: It doesn't matter. Actually, that makes it even more necessary.


LEWANDOWSKI: No, it doesn't. You don't just sell a company.

AXELROD: My conflicts were small.

LEWANDOWSKI: You don't just sell a company that is worth $10 billion overnight on a lark. You get elected president of the United States...


AXELROD: Being elected president of the United States is not a lark.


LEWANDOWSKI: In 76 days, you're going sell a $10 billion company? That's irresponsible.

AXELROD: You say right now I'm going sell my company on X schedule.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: But Corey, he is leaving, but he is leaving his kids in charge. The money still goes to the Trump family. You don't see that as a conflict of interest when he is president and money is being paid to his family, to his kids? Because of his decisions?

LEWANDOWSKI: We had a secretary of state who is receiving money from foreign countries while she is -- to her own foundation.

AXELROD: Yes, they had a charity. This issue has been raised and it will continue to be raised. They have a charity. They got contributions to that charity. We're talking about a private business here where if people pull their funding for that business, if they call their loan, call their debt, it could be crippling. And that to me is a real conflict of interest.

TAPPER: All right. Stay right there. Another round of results from our exclusive instant poll of debate watchers after what they saw and heard tonight. Are viewers more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton or for Donald Trump? Stay with us. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Let's check back with our political director David Chalian who has got the results of the exclusive CNN instant poll done by CNN/ORC. So, we see that more of the people who actually watched the debate thought that Tim Kaine actually lost, that governor Pence did a better job.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's right, Wolf. Listen, look at the top line numbers again. Who won the debate? Among debate watcher, it is Mike Pence edging out Tim Kaine, 48 percent to 42 percent. Now take a look at what we do. We measure favorable/unfavorable, sort of how people are responding to each of these candidates.

And I think this gets what David Axelrod was saying before about how Tim Kaine may have sacrificed himself. His unfavorable went up from 28 percent before the debate to 40 percent after the debate. His favorable stayed about the same. Compare that to Mike Pence. His favorable went up 7 points. And his unfavorable also ticked up a little bit. They ticked up 4 points though. Clearly a more net favorable movement for Mike Pence.

And then finally, the question of the night. Who did the debate make you more likely to vote for? Look at the 53 percent at the bottom of the screen there. Neither. A majority say this isn't moving the needle for them. But 29 percent say they're more likely to vote for Clinton. And 18 percent say -- those are reversed, actually. It is 29 percent say they are more likely to vote for Trump. And 18 percent said they're more likely to vote for Clinton.

BLITZER: Slightly helping Donald Trump. All right, David, thanks very much. So Dana, the results were pretty good for Donald Trump relatively speaking.

BASH: Relatively speaking. Because the fact that he wasn't on the stage tonight. It was his running mate. And it's all -- it certainly will give him some much needed momentum and change the story line and kind of the vibe of the campaign. But the question is how is he going to do on Sunday? Period.

BLITZER: That's the big question. Because the pressure now is enormous on Donald Trump. He's got to really come back.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Donald Trump had momentum going into the first debate. Hillary Clinton has seized that momentum back. We'll see if this has an impact to poll result there. One little piece of anecdotal evidence anyway but that it might not have as much for these people vote for presidents.

Nothing against the candidates for vice president. People vote for president. And the reaction of the democrats, a lot of democrats reading my e-mails concede on the optics. They think Mike Pence did a good job. The democrats are hoping that this conversation about Pence did not defend Donald Trump, about the statements he has made, that help that carries over. And we are having this conversation a bit earlier.

One of the interesting things about Trump is how sensitive his aides are and the people around him are to his reaction, to his ego, how he will feel. Let me be clear. They're ecstatic within the senior Trump campaign. But there are some people worrying that Hillary Clinton is a better debater, Mike Pence is a better debater.

[00:50:00] BLITZER: We are getting some more reality check. Tom Foreman and Jim Sciutto are getting those numbers for us. You've been doing a check. Tom Foreman, what is the latest?

TOM FOREMAN, BROADCAST JOURNALIST FOR CNN: Mike Pence went after the Clinton family foundation trying to suggest it's not as charitable as you might think.


PENCE: The Trump Foundation is a private family foundation. They give virtually every cent in the Trump Foundation to charitable causes. Less than 10 cents on the dollar in the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes. Less than 10 cents on the dollar of the Clinton Foundation has gone to charitable causes.


FOREMAN: Well, tough claims out there. But there are some numbers we can work with there. There is a group out there called They track this sort of thing. First thing, the Trump Foundation is a whole lot smaller. It had about a million dollars in assets in 2014. Not terribly transparent about what they're doing with the money out there.

But take a look at the difference with the Clinton Foundation. This is a massive foundation. $354 million in assets. A global reach out there. They're very transparent about what they're doing with their money. And yes, only about 6 percent of this money gets passed on to other charities.

But that's not because they're keeping the money for themselves. They're using this money to do the work of the foundation. They don't farm the work out. They do it themselves. That's why the money stays there. In the end, all of that means what Pence had to say here is just plain out false. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Tom Foreman. Jim Sciutto, what about you? What did you find out?

JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT FOR CNN: Well, Wolf, nuclear weapons. No small thing. And does Donald Trump want more countries to have them? Here's what Tim Kaine said.


KAINE: Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. He said Saudi Arabia should get them. Japan should get them. Korea should get them. When he was confronted with this, and told wait a minute, terrorists could get those. Proliferation could lead to nuclear war, here is what Donald Trump said, and I quote, go ahead, folks, enjoy yourselves.


SCIUTTO: There is the claim. Kaine saying Donald Trump wants more countries to go nuclear here. So, let's look at the facts. Easy for us to do because these were comments to our colleagues here. Trump telling Wolf Blitzer earlier this year that he was prepared to accept a nuclear Japan that would break decades of American foreign policy. Also expressed the willingness to accept a nuclear South Korea. Big deal. You got nuclear China, you got North Korea nuclear. It like major arms race in Asia.

Let's talk about this comment with Anderson Cooper. This is from Saudi Arabia. A little vague here. In some public comments, he said, yes. When pressed, he said, he wasn't so sure. On that one, open question, but on the larger point, does Donald Trump want to have more countries with nuclear weapons? We rate Tim Kaine's comments tonight as mostly true. Again, for this, all of tonight's Reality Check, go to Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, guys. Thank you. Coming up, we'll take a closer look ahead at the critical debate rematch between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that is only five days from now. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: The second presidential debate is only five days from now. CNN's campaign camper is here in Virginia, ready to head to the next debate site at Washington University in St. Louis. Tonight, our team will start the drive to Missouri, stopping along the way to hear from you, the voters about your choice in this unprecedented election.

You can see some of the photos of people CNN has met so far as we travel the country in partnership with Instagram, Facebook, and CA Technologies. We want to hear from you too. So post a photo on Instagram with the #MyVote and tell us for whom you're voting. Your picture could be a part of our election coverage.

Let's just have some final thoughts here as we prepare for that trip to St. Louis. David, what does Donald Trump, what do Hillary Clinton need to do on Sunday?

GERGEN: Well, Mike Pence has lifted the spirits of republicans, really good night tonight. And I think it's a good ramp-up introduction. But still, for Donald Trump, Sunday night is make or break. He has to win that debate. I don't think he can afford just a tie. That isn't helping him very much. If he wants to reverse the momentum of this campaign, he has to win. And if he loses, it's very hard to see if he loses two straight. I've never heard of a candidate losing two and coming become on a third debate. That's why I think Sunday night is the big, big debate. Hillary, she can have a tie. But she clearly wants to win it and polish him off.

HENDERSON: In some ways the setting probably favors her. It's a town hall. She has done a lot of town halls. She is very good in those environments. I think for Donald Trump, it means it's going to be that much harder to prepare for because it's such a different environment. Body language is going to be very important.

Connecting with the people who were there in that audience is going to be really important for him. So he's got a tall order, I think. And it's also important, what does he do in the days leading up to the debate, right?

AXELROD: How about practice?


HENDERSON: Yeah, ideally he has to practice. But again, I think it's probably harder to practice for a town hall than a one-on-one debate.

AXELROD: But it's actually more necessary because a town hall involves all kinds of blocking. People are moving around the stage. There is much more involved in preparing for a town hall debate. Look, tonight one of the things that struck me is the candidates invoked real human beings. They told stories about people. There was some humanity to their presentations.

There was very little of that in the first debate. This one requires it. This one requires you interact with human beings and identify with their concerns. And so we'll see how they do.

TAPPER: Gloria, I have to say, Donald Trump has been having these huge events with big crowds. And his supporters point out how much bigger his crowds are. She has town hall meetings. She has more practice with town hall meetings.

BORGER: Right. And smaller groups, which she started out her campaign with smaller groups of people. And I noticed in our town halls, Donald Trump doesn't relate to the small audience very well. When he is asked a question, most candidates will stand up, talk to the person, thank you for your question. And Donald Trump hasn't really done that. And we have to see more of that from him.

[01:00:00] TAPPER: If you missed any of the debate earlier this evening, you can see it in its entirely right now.