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    Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine and Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence (L) pass each other after the conclusion of their vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., October 4, 2016.

    US Vice Presidential Nominees Spar Over Russia, Syria at National Debate

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    US Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and Democratic rival Tim Kaine clashed on issues ranging from relations with Russia, strategy in Syria and immigration, among others.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and Democratic rival Tim Kaine clashed on issues ranging from relations with Russia, strategy in Syria and immigration, among others, at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia during their first and only national debate.

    "You gotta be tough on Russia," Kaine stated on Tuesday. "Donald Trump again and again has praised [Russian President] Vladimir Putin."

    Kaine claimed Hillary Clinton had the ability to stand up to Putin and slammed Trump for his family’s dealings with Russian business people.

    Pence countered by claiming that Clinton and President Barack Obama’s "weak and feckless" foreign policies have awakened an aggression in Russia from Ukraine to Syria.

    "The provocations by Russia need to be met by American strength," Pence said. "If Russia chooses to be involved and continue in this attack in Aleppo, the United States should be prepared to use military force to strike the Assad regime."

    Pence called for a "safe zone" while Kaine advocated that the United States impose a "humanitarian zone" in northern Syria.

    Kaine criticized Trump for calling NATO "obsolete" and accused his Republican rivals of wanting to "tear up" US alliances.

    Clinton’s running mate, however, did insist that it was critical for Washington to work closely with Beijing on issues like containing North Korea’s nuclear program.

    Pence, for his part, pointed to Iraq as an illustration of Clinton’s horrible foreign policy record by suggesting that the failure to maintain US forces allowed the Islamic State to overrun the country.

    On the issue of immigration, Pence suggested that Trump had a plan to end illegal immigration "once and for all." Kaine attempted to defend Clinton’s immigration platform despite its documented failures that have attracted and energized Trump suporters. Kaine responded by saying that Trump wanted to establish a "deportation force" to remove 16 million Americans.

    The debaters exchanged barbs on each campaign’s shadowy financial dealings, with Pence charging that the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from foreign governments and Clinton used her position as secretary of state to line her pockets. Kaine claimed Trump would be unable to stand up to China because the New York billionaire owed too much money to Chinese banks.

    The candidates also battled on the domestic issues, with Pence stating that Clinton wanted to raise Americans’ taxes by $1 trillion in the wake of Obama doubling the national debt.

    Both vice presidential nominees agreed that community policing was important, but Kaine excoriated Trump’s support for the "stop and frisk" policy because it polarizes relations between law enforcement and citizens and will exacerbate racial tensions.

    Tim Kaine, currently a US Senator, once served as the governor of Virginia and mayor of the state capital Richmond. Mike Pence is the governor of the US state of Indiana and served in Congress for about 12 years.


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