OPINION

Rick Sanchez: Conservative America has a new leader, his name is Mike Pence

El nominado republicano a la vicepresidencia, el gobernador Mike Pence, y su contraparte demócrata, el senador Tim Kaine, discuten una pregunta durante el debate entre candidatos a la vicepresidencia en la Universidad Longwood en Farmville, Virginia, el martes 4 de octubre de 2016. (AP Foto/David Goldman)

El nominado republicano a la vicepresidencia, el gobernador Mike Pence, y su contraparte demócrata, el senador Tim Kaine, discuten una pregunta durante el debate entre candidatos a la vicepresidencia en la Universidad Longwood en Farmville, Virginia, el martes 4 de octubre de 2016. (AP Foto/David Goldman)

During a vice presidential debate that at times seemed completely off the rails, unmoderated and even shot funny (the camera angles were wrong and had both candidates seemingly looking in the wrong direction, away from each other and the moderator), Governor Mike Pence was able to overcome and outlast all of his opponents. He was able to stand toe to toe with Senator Tim Kaine, while standing up for Donald Trump’s behavior.  

Both vice presidential candidates seemed more informed on policy than their running mates, yet at times they also seemed unable to deliver any cogent uninterruptible conversations about it.  

Pence held his own against difficult odds. And because he seemed more poised and less caffeinated — he won the debate. Does that move the presidential needle? No, probably not. Junior Varsity scrimmages don’t determine a town’s best football team.  

- Rick Sanchez

Kaine had a fundamental advantage: Hillary Clinton left him with fewer publicized controversies to apologize for. I use the word 'publicized' for emphasis, because there is much more there if only reporters had done a better job covering her pay-for-play connections through her husband’s foundation. Then again, it would have been easier for them to cover it had Trump not constantly diverted them by constantly stepping in buckets of excrement.  

That brings us to Pence’s disadvantage; Donald Trump. Trump’s thoughtless comments about Mexicans, Muslims, blacks, women, veterans and his inability to make any of those controversies go away with a simple apology left his running mate there to defend or deny accusations that were for the most part on the record.  

Yes, Pence’s workload was far more arduous. It wasn’t an easy task, but he was up to the challenge. And at no time was he better than when he was able to turn the tables on his debate opponent by eviscerating Clinton’s enrichment scheme.    

“The Clinton Foundation accepted tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and foreign donors,” acclaimed Pence correctly.   

But Pence’s best moment of the night came after a Kaine’s litany of Trump missteps and insults. That’s when he reminded Kaine that Hillary had insulted millions of Americans by calling half of Trump’s supporters "deplorables."

Pence held his own against difficult odds. And because he seemed more poised and less caffeinated — he won the debate. Does that move the presidential needle? No, probably not. Junior Varsity scrimmages don’t determine a town’s best football team.  

But you know what Junior Varsity scrimmages do? They offer a forum where future stars are discovered. And on this night, for conservative Americans — a star was born.

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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