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Pence deflects Kaine's rapid attacks in measured VP debate

Tim Kaine barely waited Tuesday night to launch into broad, rapid attacks against Donald Trump. In his second question of the vice presidential debate, Kaine jumped from defending Hillary Clinton's trustworthiness to slamming Trump for previously suggesting some Mexican immigrants are "rapists" and contending President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

"I can't imagine how [Indiana Gov. Mike Pence] can defend the insult-driven, selfish, me-first style of Donald Trump," Kaine said at Longwood University in Virginia.

Trump's running mate Pence immediately turned the "insult-driven campaign" accusation on to Clinton and Kaine. As Pence criticized Clinton's foreign policy, Kaine repeatedly tried to interrupt, prompting moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News to step in.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (L) speaks as Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (R) and debate moderator Elaine Quijano (C) listen during the Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University on October 4, 2016 in Farmville, Virginia.
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Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (L) speaks as Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (R) and debate moderator Elaine Quijano (C) listen during the Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University on October 4, 2016 in Farmville, Virginia.

The exchange largely embodies the 92 minute debate for Kaine and Pence. Kaine launched rapid-fire attacks at Trump, repeatedly bringing up his past comments about minorities and women and his refusal to release his tax returns, even if he was discussing another topic. Pence deflected those jabs, often without explicitly defending Trump, while Kaine aimed to step in and rebut. Pence, a staunch conservative, defended himself well, but without doing the same when Trump's outrageous tactics were brought up.

Vice presidential debates often do not affect elections, and it remains to be seen how the event will change this race, if at all. The Democrat Clinton came into the night enjoying a favorable shift in national and swing-state polls over Trump following last week's first presidential debate. She gets another chance to face Trump one-on-one in the next presidential debate on Sunday.

Kaine stayed aggressive while Pence largely stood back, showing a markedly different demeanor than his boisterous running mate. Pence repeatedly looked at the camera, shaking his head and denying Kaine's accusations as he fired them off.

Pence did deny some things that were true over the course of the night. Trump has previously outlined plans for a deportation force in the U.S. and once failed to realize in an interview that Russia annexed Crimea, both of which Pence denied on Tuesday.

Trump's presence, as always, was felt. He sent dozens of tweets during the debate, but largely avoided the off-the-cuff commentary like the comments about a former Miss Universe that had his campaign playing defense last week.

Trump tweeted messages of admiration for Pence and criticisms of Clinton's policy throughout the event.