Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence won the debate on style, but he failed to defend Donald Trump. Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine, on the other hand, fulfilled his role as Hillary Clinton’s running mate by doing the job he was supposed to do – defend the Democratic candidate’s record and policies.

Kaine started the debate over-caffeinated but settled down as the evening wore on. Pence started calm and relaxed, but he seemed to lose his patience as Kaine slowed his roll and got a handle on his rapid-fire delivery.

The ultimate loser of the debate was Trump, as we watched the official launch of the Pence 2020 presidential campaign, and the Republican VP candidate spent his time denying that Trump said the things he said. And the more obvious those denials became, the more we could see that Pence is looking beyond Trump for what the GOP will have to do in the aftermath.

Pence’s accomplishment last night was to supplant Ted Cruz as the de-facto leader of the religious conservative wing of the Republican Party.

The most amusing response to the debate comes from Donald Trump, the man who continually interrupted Hillary Clinton during the first presidential debate. He actually tweeted this a little while ago: