With the top of the two presidential tickets off the campaign trail to prepare for what promises to be another soul sucking debate this week, their vice presidential nominees hit the Sunday shows to defend them and dodge questions in their stead.
And what jobs they had.
With Hillary Clinton under fire for revelations about favors donors to the Clinton Foundation may have sought and a constant stream of negatives stories coming from thousands of hacked emails, Sen. Tim Kaine did his best to contrast those revelations with the absolute chaos on the other side.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence had a tougher lift - to pretend the growing number of women coming forward to say Donald Trump sexually harassed them were all part of a vast left wing conspiracy aided by the media.
“These are not substantiated accounts,” Pence told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “ These are people who have brought forward allegations going back in some cases decades. And Donald Trump has made it clear that he categorically denies that these things ever took place.”
He seemed to characterize Trump’s claims of a “rigged” election as a collective media to destroy his running mate.
“I think what Donald Trump is talking about is frankly what appears to be the monolithic support of the national media for Hillary Clinton's campaign, their willful ignorance about the avalanche of hard evidence,” he told “Face the Nation”.
And yet, Pence repeatedly cited a report in The New York Times (or “the failing New York Times” in Trump- speak).
“Just this morning, The New York Times is reporting that in exchange for a five-minute meeting [with Bill Clinton], the government of Qatar pledged $1 million to the Clinton Foundation,” he said on Fox News Sunday. Though there isn’t evidence that this meeting even happened.
When Pence repeated the same thing on “Meet the Press”, host Chuck Todd quipped, “You just cited the New York Times.”
Pence also had to defend Trump’s charge that the election system was rigged - but stopped short of saying they would call for a destruction of democracy should they lose the election.
“We will absolutely accept the result of the election,” he told Todd. “Look, the American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November the 8th.”
But he then repeated the election was rigged.
However, Pence’s terrible Sunday, didn’t mean Kaine had it easy.
On “This Week”, Kaine was asked about the steady release of hacked emails from WikiLeaks, including one in which a Democratic strategist characterized Catholicism as having "severely backwards gender relations."
“On Catholicism, I am Catholic,” Kaine said after again suggesting, as the Clinton campaign has done in the past few weeks, that not all the emails can be verified. “I’m very, very serious about my Catholicism and Hillary views that as a real asset. And we’ve talked about our faith lives, as she asked me to be on the ticket with her.”
“So in terms of what Hillary Clinton, who’s running for president, thinks about Catholics and the value more broadly of having a faith background, I can tell you she views at it as a plus, just as she views her own Methodism as a plus.”
Faced with similar questions on “Fox News Sunday,” Kaine said he was not sure whether President Obama was communicating with Clinton on her private email server.
“I actually do not know if he's communicating by e-mail with Hillary, does he know that it's a private server?” Kaine said. “I mean, I don't exactly know if I send somebody an e-mail exactly what their setup is. I don't really think about that much, and I can't imagine that the president, with all that's on his mind would either.”
He pivoted to the FBI investigation conducted by James Comey, which Kaine said effectively absolved Clinton.
“I do know is this, that there was an extensive, as you know, Bret, investigation by the FBI under the direction of a wonderful and tough career public servant, Jim Comey. Jim was in the U.S. attorney's office in the eastern district of Virginia when I was the mayor of Richmond. And he's somebody with the highest standards of integrity.”
He also went on the offensive against the Trump campaign’s claims that the electoral process is “rigged.”
“I think after -- by all accounts, losing the first two debates, he started to make wild claims, kind of scorched earth claims about the election being rigged,” Kaine said. “So we have to keep putting out a message and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the -- the fact that -- that we run elections and we run them well here. He shouldn't be engaging in those scare tactics.
Much of the discussion also focused on Trump’s assailing of an avalanche of women accusing him of sexual assault this week, and the unfounded notion that they were brought forward by the Clinton campaign.
“As soon as he looked folks in the face and said those were not my actions, that was essentially the invitation to people who knew otherwise to come out and say wait a minute, I've had an experience with Donald Trump,” Kaine said referring to an answer in the last debate in which Trump claimed he had not groped women as he said he did in a lurid 2005 Access Hollywood tape.
“That’s what’s going on. It’s not because of our campaign, but it’s very characteristic of Donald Trump that now he’s blaming these women. He’s making weird claims that, no, I couldn’t have assaulted this person; she’s not attractive enough to assault. How bizarre is that?”
In the aftermath of the tape being revealed, Trump has seen his polls going from bad to worse, remaining four points behind among likely voters in a new Washington Post poll and a whopping eleven down in a new NBC News poll.