Republican Mike Pence came across as the winner against Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia in their vice presidential debate this week at Longwood University but viewers say the Indiana governor’s skill at lying was what impressed them the most.
“I never expected Pence to be as good at lying as he was,” said Andrew McNair, a retired insurance agent in Des Moines, Iowa. “Yes, he did a good job counterpunching Kaine and articulating conservative Republican positions, but none of that matched how well he said things that weren’t true.”
Viewers across the country echoed that view, saying the ability of Pence to lie without showing any hint of uncertainty or self-doubt earns him a place in a liar’s hall of fame, although such an institution doesn’t exist.
“When he denied that [Republican presidential nominee] Donald Trump praised Vladimir Putin as a stronger leader than President Obama—or even when he denied that he himself said such a thing—he looked like he really believed his lie,” said Jean Scott, a school teacher in Lexington, Ky. “That’s not something many people can do. Most people let some hint of guilt or discomfort slip out. But he did it and it was a wonder to behold.”
Ned Brown, a dentist in Altoona, Pa., said he expected Pence, given the devoutness of his religious beliefs, to blanche at telling a bald-faced lie. But Pence never betrayed any emotion when he said things that were patently untrue, like when he said the Trump Foundation donated “every cent” it received to charitable causes rather than use tens of thousands of dollars to cover legal costs of the Trump business or buy paintings and memorabilia that end up in Trump properties. “I bet that night he went down on his knees twice as long as he usually does,” said Brown. “Ha-ha!”
One of Pence’s best lies, many viewers said, was when he denied Donald Trump had called on Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia to acquire their own nuclear weapons. “He looked the moderator right in the eye and lied straight to her face,” said Mike Cooper, a civil engineer in Lansing, Mich. “When I saw that, I knew we were in the presence of greatness. He is on a level few people can ever hope to reach.”
Another great lie, viewers said, was when he refused to acknowledge Trump had called for a deportation force to round up undocumented immigrants. “To say Trump never said that when it’s on tape all over the news requires a liar of unbelievable skill,” said Kim Branton, a homemaker in Springfield, Mo.
Perhaps the biggest lie of all, though, was when he insisted Trump hadn’t broken a promise to release his taxes even though Trump had said in a 2014 TV interview he would “absolutely” release his taxes should he decide to run.
“To deny what’s so obviously true without showing the slightest discomfort is something we mere mortals can only aspire to,” said Clem Robinson, a bank branch manager in Ely, Nev. “I don’t know what holds us back. Maybe we’re too human or we hold some vestiges of moral thinking. Whatever it is, we can’t compare to such an obvious master of lying. Maybe I’m not getting on my knees and praying for the right thing. I’ve been praying all these years for the strength to do what’s right according to the Bible. I didn’t know we’re supposed to be praying for the skill to say whatever we need to say to get what we want. I’m going to have to completely rethink what I’m getting on my knees for. If I don’t, I doubt I’ll ever be able to lie with the greatness of Mike Pence.”
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