The Cable

Battleground ’16: Split Ticket

“I have no words,” said Ameer Mohamed, a swing-state, Muslim-American voter, to Donald Trump — and Mike Pence — painting immigrants as threats.


DURHAM, N.C. — The usually affable Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine came out swinging from Tuesday’s start of the first and only vice presidential debate. But even on his home turf in Farmville, Va., Kaine couldn’t seem to faze the unflappable Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Kaine tried to force the Republican VP nominee to defend Donald Trump’s various foreign policy controversies, and particularly his stance on Russia and President Vladimir Putin — but Pence, notably, did not.

Instead, Pence sought to hang the Obama administration’s foreign policy crises around the neck of the former secretary of state-turned-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, following a longtime mainstream GOP strategy. Pence called Putin a “small, bullying leader” and said he needed to be met with “American strength” — and simply denied or steamrolled over his own obvious denial of Trump’s campaign platform. After all, while the 2016 election is first on the horizon, Pence may already have 2020 in his vision.

Sign up for FP’s Editors’ Picks newsletter here to receive Battleground ’16, our take on the presidential race, each Wednesday through November.


VP Candidates Seize On Dueling Foreign Policies in Scolding Debate

A combative Kaine challenged Pence to defend Trump as the unflappable governor blamed Clinton for security crises.



“I will be live-tweeting the V.P. Debate. Very exciting! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

— Donald Trump



Kaine and Pence to Square Off on Security as Trump Stirs Outrage With PTSD Comments

Both vice presidential candidates cite their sons in the Marine Corps to bolster their cases, but Trump’s latest controversy could dominate the debate.



Gary Johnson’s ‘Aleppo Moments’ Don’t Undo a Smart, Libertarian Foreign-Policy Platform

But good God, man. Get your act together.




Hillary Clinton’s nationwide lead on Donald Trump after their first debate last Monday, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average.



Report That Trump Violated Cuba Embargo Could Rile Some 2 Million GOP Voters

Clinton’s camp pounces, and Sen. Rubio balks, as Trump campaign manager says he spent money in Cuba in violation of U.S. law.

Sign up for FP’s Editors’ Picks newsletter here to receive Battleground ’16, our take on the presidential race, each Wednesday through November.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Molly O’Toole is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy, covering immigration, refugees, and national security. She was FP’s sole 2016 presidential campaign reporter, on the trail from New Hampshire to Nevada. Previously, she covered the politics of national security for Atlantic Media’s Defense One, where she reported from Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department. Before that, she was a news editor at the Huffington Post. Molly has also reported on national and international politics for Reuters, the Nation, The Associated Press, and Newsweek International, among others, from Washington, New York, Mexico City, and London. She received her dual master’s degree in journalism and international relations from New York University and her bachelor’s from Cornell University and in 2016 was a grant recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation. She will always be a Californian. @mollymotoole

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