One of the most-discussed aspects of Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate was how often Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, interrupted Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Pundits declared Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, the winner of the debate, and Kaine’s interruptions seemed to detract from his overall message in support of Clinton.
The Republican National Committee noted after the debate that Kaine interrupted Pence and the debate moderator at least 70 times throughout the night, according to The Hill.
And data-journalism website FiveThirtyEight made a similar assessment, counting Kaine’s interruptions or interjections at more than 70 and Pence’s at just a little more than 40.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway accused Kaine of sexism for interrupting the moderator, CBS News anchor Elaine Quijano.
“How many times has @TimKaine ignored and interrupted the female moderator tonight? #sexist,” she wrote on Twitter.
Conway continued blasting Kaine after the debate.
“Tim Kaine spent all his time interrupting and ignoring the moderator, female moderator, I’d like to remind everyone,” she told Fox News. “[M]ike Pence kept his calm, and he was there to talk about the issues.”
Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller also slammed Kaine for his interruptions.
“It was really bad that he kept doing that,” Miller told Fox News. “The calm and even feel that Gov. Pence had this evening really allowed the viewers, the people at home, the voters, to get a sense of what the message was. … The only thing people saw from Sen. Kaine was constant interruptions.”
Even David Axelrod, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama, admitted that Kaine’s interruptions were too much.
“Tim Kaine is a very positive, ebullient character and was asked to be an attack dog here,” Axelrod said on CNN. “And I think he wasn’t entirely comfortable in that role.”
He continued: “The strategy of interrupting was probably overdone. Mike Pence, stylistically, did very well.”
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta defended Kaine to NBC News after the debate, saying Kaine’s interruptions were meant to challenge Pence and have him defend the issues.
Still, the constant interjections seemed to have hurt him. Republican pollster Frank Luntz tied Kaine’s interruptions to him losing the debate, according to a focus group he conducted: