WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a vice-presidential debate, but one candidate seemed better prepared for a stand-up routine.
Tim Kaine lobbed so many zingers — including some comedic misfires — about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that Mike Pence called out the feisty Democrat's "pre-done lines."
As the debate opened, Kaine asked how Pence could defend the "insult-driven, me-first style of Donald Trump." As Pence questioned Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state, Kaine interrupted, "You really are Donald Trump's apprentice" — a nod to Trump's reality television show.
The Democrat later riffed on Trump's "America first" campaign motto, calling his economic proposal "really a Trump-first plan."
Some of Kaine's one-liners sounded a bit forced, at least to Pence.
"Do you want a 'you're hired' president in Hillary Clinton or a 'you're fired president' in Donald Trump?" Kaine asked, appropriating Trump's signature line from "The Apprentice."
Pence scoffed and shook his head.
"First, let me say, I appreciated the 'you're hired,' 'you're fired' thing, senator. You use that a whole lot, and I think your running mate used a lot of pre-done lines," Pence said, referring to Clinton's debate performance.
A moment later, it was Pence with the wince-worthy line.
"There you go again," Pence said flatly, when Kaine talked about Republicans wanting to privatize Social Security. That's a line made famous by President Ronald Reagan.