HOT SPRINGS, VIRGINIA — Republican U.S. Senate nominee Corey Stewart galvanized the crowd at his first debate against Democrat incumbent Tim Kaine, winning major applause on nearly every point.
PBS moderator Judy Woodruff was surprisingly fair, giving Stewart a chance to obliterate Kaine from all angles while the Hillary Clinton running mate stood frozen, shellshocked, a grim look on his face. Kaine frequently said that he agrees with President Trump when attacked head-on by Stewart. During Stewart’s segments, Kaine furrowed his brows and glanced desperately at his campaign staff, who seemed demoralized by Stewart’s upset victory.
The only time the Kaine campaign team managed to influence the TV cameras occurred when they all laughed loudly at Stewart’s accurate claim that President Trump is standing up to Russia. But even the dying Russian collusion narrative could not save Kaine from the shellacking that was waiting for him at the Omni Homestead Resort. When the debate was over, press cameras raced to surround Stewart while Kaine flop-sweated through a few perfunctory interviews in a lesser corner.
Stewart rose to the occasion regarding the media’s prime talking point about him: that he is somehow racist because he has met racists, whom he disavowed. Given multiple chances by Stewart, Kaine refused to condemn an anti-Semitic office mate in Charlottesville, saying only that her well-documented anti-Semitic views on foreign policy are “not necessarily my” views.
Here is the entire beatdown in full. We will be highlighting different aspects of this epic smackdown as the day goes on and the people of Virginia acclimate themselves to what has just become a dead-on competitive U.S. Senate race.
Rewind this PBS Newshour livestream (the debate starts at around -1:28:00):
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