The US Presidential Election 2016 rumbles on and with voting only a month away, it was the turn of the vice presidential hopefuls to go toe to toe in a TV debate.
Although the US President represents one of the most influential nations on Earth and has huge economic, technology and military resources at his or her disposal, less is known about their running mates.
Although vice-presidents like Spiro Agnew had to step up to the plate after the assassination of John F Kennedy, outside the States, they tend to be little-known.
Donald Trump’s helper Mike Pence and Hillary Clinton’s number two Tim Kaine pretty much took even honours in this week’s debate – with commentators making Pence a winner by a narrow margin.
The worst of times for Trump
Trump’s campaign has not had the best of weeks. As an inexperienced politician going up against Mrs Clinton was a stretch and he clearly lost out after resorting to his trade mark personal remarks.
Then there were Trump’s tax returns. Someone leaked a few of the pages of Trump’s tax filings from the late 1990s that showed he had a near billion-dollar tax loss indicating he has likely not paid any federal taxes since.
Since he has stalled making his returns public for months, Clinton jumped on the lapse to make political capital.
Against this back-drop, Pence did well to make any impact.
Of course, he held down a job as a radio presenter in the past, so knows how to handle the media, but he was calm and assured against Kaine, who came over as a little hyper and not so self-controlled.
Taking the flak
The questions and answers were really irrelevant.
Pence was there to take the flak for Trump and to give his leader some time to regroup his battered campaign for another bout with Clinton
Despite Trump’s expressed admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Pence dismissed him as a ‘small and bullying leader’.
He also deflected points about those tax returns and immigration, another Trump petard that he has been hoisted on.
No one really expects Trump or Clinton to gain or lose votes from what their deputies are saying, and with two more TV debates scheduled before the election, all eyes will be on Trump and Clinton, not the supporting act.