Tuesday's vice presidential showdown between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence didn't exactly set anyone's eyeballs on fire. But it may have set off Donald Trump's temper: Both CNN's John King and CNBC's John Harwood reported that Trump was telling aides he was furious that his running mate upstaged him and won the debate.
"Pence won overall, but lost with Trump," said one adviser, according to Harwood. Forty-eight percent of voters said Indiana Gov. Pence won, and 42 percent backed Virginia Sen. Kaine, according to an instant CNN poll.
CNN's John King, reporting from a source close to Trump, that the reviews that Pence did better then he did won't go over well with Trump
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp)October 5, 2016
GOP candidate Trump, according to most media postgame analysis, lost his first debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, on Sept. 26, and national polling indicates that likely voters agree.
Pence, on the other hand, controlled the VP debate and managed to deliver a revisionist version of Trump, while looking, well, presidential. Any time Kaine brought up a typically outrageous Trump quote, Pence shook his head as if his running mate's statements were made up or exaggerated.
Pence downplayed the top half of his ticket enough that the post-debate analysis said this was an effective audition for 2020, which would likely be extra salt in the wound if Trump is already peeved that his VP pick stole his thunder.
Asked after the debate whether Trump would amp up his debate prep after watching Pence, Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie said, "I don't see us — Mr. Trump is very good at focusing on debate prep. He is looking forward to the next debate."
For her part, Hillary Clinton needled Pence for his sidelining of Trump in a tweet post-debate: "Lucky to have a partner like @TimKaine who stood up for our shared vision tonight — instead of trying to deny it."
The next presidential debate is scheduled for this Sunday, Oct. 9.