NewsPublic Affairs / October 4, 2016

In VP Debate, Pence Gets Tasked With Cleaning Up For Trump

Republican vice presidential candidate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at a campaign rally Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, in Fort Wayne, Ind. - AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Republican vice presidential candidate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at a campaign rally Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, in Fort Wayne, Ind.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the vice presidential debate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will step into a role that has become all too familiar during his time as Donald Trump's running mate: clean-up duty.

It was Pence who tried to soften Trump's criticism of a military family and toughen the businessman's stance on Russia. When Trump waffled over endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan in his August primary, the mild-mannered Midwesterner with strong conservative credentials weighed in with a solid vote of confidence in his former congressional colleague.

But Pence's task has perhaps never been more critical than on the debate stage at Virginia's Longwood University, where he'll face off against Sen. Tim Kaine. Trump is trying to recover from one of the worst weeks of his turbulent presidential campaign.

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