Here's What You Need to Know Before Tuesday's VP Debate

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Mike Pence, Tim Kaine

Mike Pence and Tim Kaine take center stage as they prepare for their first battle in a public forum.

OK, so it’s not the main event. In an election where we’ve literally had undercard debates, legitimately a kid’s table with presidential candidates, this one is probably sandwiched between the two as the square off between a soccer dad-like candidate supporting the top of the ticket and the custodian whose main job is cleaning up his candidate’s messes and making things look pretty.

Both candidates have been relatively inconsequential, but even with that being true, Tuesday night’s Vice Presidential Debate will likely make at least a couple of waves, in that it could shape the narrative for the next news cycle and have an impact on what we’ll see from the critical town hall debate that’s up next for the presidential candidates this Sunday.
So, here are the things to know about the Republican veep candidate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, and his counterpart representing the Democrats, VP hopeful Sen. Tim Kaine.


What they love:

Kaine was seen as one of the safest of the options for the vp spot. One of the first things Americans learned about the Virginia senator was that he's fluent in Spanish, and in an election where the Latino vote will be more important than ever — and when the opposing ticket is having such a difficult time with that demographic — that was seen as a major plus.

Having been reportedly shortlisted more than once before as a vp candidate, Kaine is a former DNC head, has been vetted within an inch of his political life and — with his soccer dad personality — is about as relatable as the Clinton ticket could hope for.

He’s from Virginia. Oh, and Virginia’s a swing state. 
What’s controversial:
Kaine has taken a bit of heat for his positions on the death penalty and abortion. He’s personally against abortion, being of the Catholic faith, however, he’s pro-choice politically. His perspective on abortion is basically that his opinion shouldn’t hinder women from making their own choices about their bodies.

On capital punishment, Kaine again finds his faith and his policy at odds. According to The New York Times, he’s overseen the execution of 11 people during his tenure as Virginia's governor. But when it comes to his personal beliefs, he says religion tells him that the death penalty isn’t the best choice as a form of punishment.

Another thing: Kaine has actually never lost an election.
More reading on Kaine:

Here’s a little more in-depth information on the Democrats' vp candidate.

What they love:

The GOP loves that Pence is a true conservative. His selection as a prospective vp was viewed as Trump’s olive branch to the party, at a time where party unity was needed badly. Pence also normalizes Trump in a way, similar to the way his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, does.

Pence has been able to smooth things over, walk things back, and hasn’t had any real gaffes or missteps so far in this campaign. Oh, and he’s pretty devoted to not running negative campaigns. Hello, irony.

You can expect that he’ll be well behaved and may actually bring a bump to the polling numbers for Trump as he’s seen as a lot more palatable for the more traditionally conservative GOP voter.
What’s controversial:
While he’s stayed pretty squeaky clean since running for the second-highest office in the land, there are a few blemishes on the Indiana governor’s record. Most notably, he brought the state under great scrutiny in 2015 with his Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

That was seen as legislating homophobia by many, allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. The example used most regularly: having the right not to make a wedding cake for a gay couple if you didn’t want to because of your beliefs. 

Pence also voted for the war in Iraq; Trump told 60 Minutes it was perfectly fine for Pence to have made such a mistake — but is unforgivable for Hillary. 
Additional Reading on Pence:

If you want to know more about the GOP vp nominee: Seven things good to know about Mike Pence.
No matter what, there will be plenty to talk about after the Vice Presidential Debate wraps up — and we’ll be talking. Live. On Facebook.

Make sure to join us immediately following the presidential debate, on The Hollywood Reporter's Facebook Live at 7.45 p.m. PT. "Countdown to Election Night with Jarrett Hill" will be live with political experts for live feedback on the debate, the candidates and what they made of it all.