KHOU’s team of fact-checkers watched the vice presidential debate closely to verify what candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence said Tuesday night.
It was America’s chance to get to know the men who could be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Pence and Kaine know how this works, and the fireworks started early when they talked about insult-driven campaigns.
“Donald Trump during this campaign has called Mexicans rapists and criminals,” Kaine said. “He’s called women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting…he said African-Americans are living in hell, and he perpetrated this bigoted lie that Obama was not a U.S. citizen.”
“If Donald Trump had said all of the things you said he said, in the way you said he said them, he still wouldn't have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of our supporters were a basket of deplorables,” Pence said.
We've have heard those statements from both campaigns -- those statements are true -- both seem to be running insult-driven campaigns.
Then they got down to the meat of the campaign -- the issues -- like immigration.
“These guys, and Donald Trump has said it: Deportation force. They want to go house to house, school to school, business to business and kick out 16 million people,” Kaine said.
“What you just heard is they have a plan for open borders, amnesty…They call it comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill,” Pence said. “We all know the routine. It's amnesty.”
To verify those statements, our fact-checkers dug through Clintion's immigration plan and went back through Trump's old interviews. Clinton hasn't gone far enough to say she wants amnesty, but she has called for a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants and limit deportation to criminals.
Trump did tell CBS’ 60 Minutes last year that he plans to "round up" immigrants, and deport 11 to 12 million people. Trump said, "We're rounding 'em up in a very humane way, in a very nice way, and they're going to be happy because they want to be legalized."
Then the discussion moved to the economy.
“There are millions more living in poverty today than when Barack Obama took office with Hillary Clinton at his side,” Pence said.
“And the median income improved dramatically between 2014 and 2015,” Kaine responded.
Both of these points are misleading. According to the census, the number of people living in poverty is up slightly, but the percentage of people living in poverty is lower. Again, according to the census, Kaine is also correct in saying the median income has steadily increased in the last couple of years but neglected to say it fell steadily the first six years of the Obama administration.
Some might say the running mate just doesn't matter -- it's all about No. 1. But keep in mind: nine" vice presidents have ascended to the presidency after the president was unable to serve, eight after the president died and one -- Gerald Ford -- after the president -- Richard Nixon -- resigned.