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First Read's Morning Clips: Fact-Checking Last Night's 2016 Debate

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day.
Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence, right, speaks, as Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine listens during the vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Andrew Gombert/Pool via AP)Andrew Gombert / AP

OFF TO THE RACES: Fact-checking last night’s VP debate

From NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald and Benjy Sarlin: “For months, the buttoned-down conservatism of GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence has run on a parallel track to Donald Trump's inflammatory populism. At Tuesday's vice presidential debate at Longwood University here, the two trains finally threatened to collide — only to split in opposite directions instead.”

Miss the debate? Here’s the blow-by-blow and a video with some of the night’s biggest lines.

We fact-checked the debate. Here’s what we found.

Pence and Kaine sparred over which campaign is more “insult-driven,” writes the Washington Post. “With Trump reeling from self-inflicted controversies at a critical juncture in the campaign, Pence projected a steadier temperament than Trump and largely ducked Kaine’s demands to answer for the GOP nominee’s incendiary actions and statements. But Pence made numerous statements that conflicted with positions taken by Trump. He suggested that Trump would not immediately deport all undocumented immigrants, that he believes military action is warranted to help the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo and that Russia is a dangerous country that the United States must deal with aggressively.”

And from the New York Times: “Senator Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence repeatedly threw each other on the defensive over their running mates’ policies and character at the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday night, with Mr. Pence making little effort to directly rebut the near-constant attacks on Donald J. Trump’s fitness for the presidency.”

Dan Balz of the Washington Post: “Overall it was an unsatisfying, disjointed debate, as the two candidates brushed past specific questions to open up other arguments at will. It probably changed few minds and no doubt brought some encouragement to the bases of the two parties. In that way it was a typical vice-presidential debate.”

Here’s the AP’s lede: “Republican Mike Pence was calm and steady in the face of Democrat Tim Kaine's fiery and frequent challenges. But when it came to defending Donald Trump, Pence dodged, sidestepped or was silent about some of his running mate's most provocative words.”

And the Wall Street Journal: “In a lively and combative debate between the two vice-presidential nominees on Tuesday night here, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine each cast the other party’s presidential nominee as an unacceptable choice for a country facing a perilous world.”

Did Kaine undermine his image of authenticity?

The New York Times editorial board headlines their take “Mike Pence’s Fantasy Running Mate,” while the Washington Post goes with “Mike Pence struggles to defend the indefensible.”

Kaine pressed Pence on Russia, but not gay rights.

By Jane Timm: “In the years leading up to his presidential bid, Donald Trump's charitable foundation donated generously to several conservative nonprofits that would later help raise his stature within the movement.”

NBC’s Alex Jaffe notes that Trump’s visits to Arizona have left GOP activists scratching their heads.

POLITICO notes that Donald Trump is running out of time to rebound.

From an interview with NBC’s TODAY: “An attorney who oversaw Donald Trump's income tax returns in the mid-1990s said the Republican presidential candidate had little interest in the tax code — contrasting with the billionaire's claim that he understood taxes ‘better than almost anyone.’”

House Republicans are feeling a lot better about their downballot chances, POLITICO writes.

And the Clinton campaign is cleaning up from Bill Clinton’s remarks about Obamacare.