Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (R) speaks during the 2016 U.S. Vice Presidential Debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, the United States, Oct.4, 2016. Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence clashed Tuesday night during the only vice presidential debate, accusing the other side of launching an insult-driven campaign. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan)
By Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- After U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence scored big in Tuesday night's debate, analysts said Trump should follow Pence's example as he gears up for his own debate this coming weekend.
Pence, governor of Indiana, remained calm and cool during the debate, even as he was forced to defend some of his boss' controversial remarks. While Democratic VP choice Senator Tim Kaine often appeared agitated and hot-tempered, Pence offered a counter balance to the often outrageous Trump, sticking to the game plan and remaining in control of the conversation.
Experts said Pence is a good counterweight to Trump, who critics call a loose cannon, and who in recent weeks has gotten lured into trivial tit-for-tat arguments with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
That has not helped Trump, as the billionaire needs to show voters he has the temperament to head the world's most powerful country.
Experts said Trump needs to emulate Pence in this Sunday's crucial debate against Clinton, which will be broadcast nationwide to millions of viewers.
"Pence did a good job keeping his cool amidst Kaine's withering attacks against Trump. He demonstrated how to ignore certain issues and respond to criticisms from the other side," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.
Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, echoed some of those statements.
"Pence definitely kept his cool, and while Kaine sought to push on issues related to Trump's past statements, he did come across as being too agitated or keyed-up compared to Pence," he told Xinhua.
In one sense, voters will remember the difference between the cool and collected Pence and the more agitated-seeming Kaine. On the other hand, Pence may be leaving voters wondering why the Republican Party has Trump as their candidate when there are other calmer, more traditional Republicans, Mahaffee said.
But on the question of whether the VP debate will sway voters, experts said voters tend to pay attention to the presidential candidates rather than the VP picks.
"Generally, people vote the top of the ticket so the VP debate is not likely to sway many voters," West said.
Still, Pence as a model for Trump could have a meaningful impact for Republicans, West said.
Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, wrote in an article for CNN that one thing to come out of Tuesday's debate was the possibility of Mike Pence running for president in 2020, although Pence could bring with him baggage due to his close ties to the controversial Trump.
"There will be baggage for anyone who helped Donald Trump," said Zelizer. "If he runs in 2020, and that is a long way away, he would have to move beyond this campaign rather than build on it. Of course that assumes he is not the vice president."