Gov. Scott Walker: Mike Pence didn’t ‘take the bait’ during VP debate
Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence went into Tuesday night’s debate with one key piece of advice from his camp: don’t take the bait.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has worked closely with Pence on the trail and played Democratic opponent Tim Kaine during debate preparations, told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” that Donald Trump’s campaign wanted to absorb and react to insults Kaine would potentially throw, rather than respond with similar attacks.
“We knew, watching the tapes, that Sen. Kaine was going to spend his time detracting from the question,” Walker told Tapper. “They think in their focus groups that if they attack, they can win.”
With Kaine increasingly stepping into the role of attack dog for the ticket, Pence has functioned as a calmer foil to his running mate.
Walker said if Trump learned from his running mate — adopting a more even temperament and not falling into traps set by Clinton — in advance of Sunday’s second Presidential debate, the Republican presidential nominee would be more able to concentrate on issues Americans care about, such as the economy and immigration, instead of getting caught in a shouting match.
“What the debate prep helps you do is stay focused on who you are, what you believe in and not get stuck in things that are meant to sidetrack you,” Walker said. “That’s part of the reason why I think it was successful that Mike Pence showed the kind of person he is, he showed his empathy, he showed his rational sense, he showed what it means to be a common sense conservative.”
Pence defended during the debate his running mate’s recent foreign policy comments, in particular Trump’s stance on Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and illegal immigration across America’s southern borders.
Walker said the Republican ticket wanted to concentrate its efforts on identifying specific individuals who had entered the country and committed illegal acts, unlike Clinton and Kaine, who he said painted illegal immigrants with “a broad brush.”
“That was a point Mike Pence made over and over again,” Walker said. “That we’re weaker in this world not just because of the president but because of Hillary Clinton’s policies.