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Who won the first presidential debate? Tim Kaine, Mike Pence spin two different tales

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence defend the performances of their running mates in the first presidential debate.
/ Source: TODAY

The vice presidential candidates on Tuesday defended the debate performances of their running mates, taking turns praising them while trying to point out the missteps of their opponents.

Democrat Tim Kaine said Republican Donald Trump clearly failed to "show a command of specifics," when he and Hillary Clinton clashed over policy during their first face-to-face debate Monday evening.

Kaine said Trump also demonstrated "he was easily rattled," particularly when Clinton had a quick comeback to questions about her stamina. The former secretary of state pointed out she had visited 120 nations while serving as the nation's chief diplomat and, earlier this year, also withstood an 11-hour congressional hearing.

"In the split scene I was watching at that moment, she looked like she was ready for another 11 hours of debate, and he looked like he had run out of gas and was leaning up against the ropes," Kaine said. "That showed kind of a temperament and preparedness issue and I think really worked to Hillary’s advantage."

But Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said he thought Trump had "a great night" and was able to address issues that mattered to voters, despite having to defend himself against a string of personal attacks.

"The whole evening was an avalanche of insults by Hillary Clinton. It was remarkable," Pence said.

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He added that Trump's debate performance shows he has the right mix of traits, including restraint and good judgement, to lead the nation.

"For the president of the United States, that person has to have the temperament, they have to have the restraint to be able to deal with the wider world and the challenges facing the American people and I couldn't be more proud of Donald Trump," he said.

Kaine and Pence will have their own face off next week when they take to the stage on Oct. 4 for the first and only vice presidential debate.