Immediately following last night’s Vice-Presidential Debate, analysts at ABC were eager to downplay Kaine’s constant interruptions and highlight Pence’s “false” claims instead. The next morning’s coverage of the debate on ABC was more of the same, with Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl declaring Pence as “less than factual.” ABC did not bother to call out Kaine even once for any of his false statements. CBS, however, did fact-check both candidates equally.
As soon as the debate ended last night, ABC’s Jon Karl and Byron Pitts went after Pence on two different statements, but didn’t follow up by fact-checking Kaine:
BYRON PITTS: Well, George, Donald Trump did say, in 2015, that Mexicans bring in drugs, they bring in crime, they're rapists. He did say in 2006, in an interview with Fox News, he called Rosie o'donnell a slob. Donald Trump did say in the first debate that blacks, that African-Americans are living in hell. So, the facts are, we conclude that the comment by Governor Pence was false.
KARL: But fact checkers will have a field day with Mike pence. The other big one, George, was the question of whether or not Pence said that Vladimir Putin is a stronger leader than Barack Obama. You say Pence deny saying that. Pence said that. He said it just last month on September 8th in an interview with CNN.
And this morning was no different. On Good Morning America, Karl downplayed the fact that Kaine was constantly interrupting Pence and instead hyped Pence’s defense of Trump as factually inaccurate. “Pence kept the fact-checkers busy,” Karl noted, somehow forgetting that Kaine also said things that could be easily proven false.
KARL: We crunched the numbers. Pence interrupted Kaine 40 times but Kaine interrupted Pence almost twice as often 70 times almost two for every minute he spoke but Pence kept the fact checkers busy. On several occasions he denied Donald Trump said things that Donald Trump did in fact say and this moment really stood out.
KAINE: Governor Pence said inarguably, Vladimir Putin is a better leader than president Obama.
PENCE: That is absolutely inaccurate.
KENCE: And I just think a guy --
PENCE: Said he's been stronger on the world stage.
KAINE: No, he said leader.
KARL: But Pence did say it and he said it less than a month ago.
PENCE: I think it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.
KARL: So the bottom line while Pence wins points on style in this debate there were several points where he was, let's just say, George, less than factual.
But CBS did fact-check both candidates statements. On CBS This Morning, Wednesday, Major Garrett noted:
GARRETT: Throughout Tuesday's debate, Tim Kaine tried to tie Mike Pence to the often-unscripted comments of his running mate, including on the issue of nuclear proliferation.
KAINE: More nations should get nuclear weapons. Try to defend that.
MIKE PENCE, (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, he never said that, Senator.
GARRETT: But Trump has suggested he would be okay with countries in Asia and the Middle East becoming nuclear powers — even saying it's inevitable.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (from March 29, 2016 presidential forum on CNN): It's going to happen any way. It's only a question of time.
GARRETT: In defending Hillary Clinton's record fighting the spread of nukes, Kaine overstated his running mate's successes.
KAINE: She worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.
PENCE: Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?
GARRETT: The nuclear deal with Iran was actually negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry; and while it freezes the Iranian nuclear weapons program, it leaves much of the country's infrastructure in place.
KAINE: So you like the 16 million deportation?
PENCE: Senator, that's nonsense.
GARRETT: On immigration, Pence denied that Trump called for a deportation force to deal with undocumented U.S. residents.
PENCE: Senator, we have a deportation force. It's called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
GARRETT: During the Republican primaries however, Trump did suggest the need for more aggressive tactics.
TRUMP (from November 11, 2015 interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"): You're going to have a deportation force; and you're going to do it humanely.
GARRETT: On entitlements, Kaine accused his opponent of supporting an overhaul of Social Security.
KAINE: Donald Trump wrote a book; and he said Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, and privatization would be good for all of us.
GARRETT: That book came out in 2000; but during this election, Trump has vocally opposed such a plan.
TRUMP (from CNN presidential debate): I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security — to leave it the way it is.
GARRETT (on-camera): There was also a good deal of back and forth about who said what about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kaine accused Pence and Trump of supporting dictatorship over American leadership. Charlie, Pence said it's the precise lack of White House leadership that has made Putin a stronger force on the world stage.
CHARLIE ROSE: Thanks, Major.
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