Everything you need to know about the 2016 vice presidential debate

When is the vice presidential debate?

The vice presidential debate will take place on October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

What time is the vice presidential debate and how long is it?

The debate will start at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time and is scheduled to run for 90 minutes without commercial breaks.

Who is in the vice presidential debate?

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Senator from Virginia and Hillary Clinton’s running mate, will debate Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana and running mate to Donald Trump. Pence is a first term governor of Indiana who previously served over a decade in Congress. Kaine is a former Democratic National Committee chairman who also served as governor of Virginia and mayor of Richmond.

How can I watch the vice presidential debate?

The debate will be broadcast on all major television networks and cable channels. C-SPAN will also air the debate.

Who will moderate the vice presidential debate?

Elaine Quijano of CBS News will be the debate’s sole moderator. She is a correspondent for CBS News and an anchor for CBSN, the digital streaming network for CBS. This election, Quijano covered 2016 debates and both the Republican and Democratic national conventions for CBS. In 2011, Quijano revealed in a CBS Evening News report that the White House did not send condolence letters to the families of military personnel who had committed suicide. That report spurred the Obama administration to reverse that policy.

Quijano, a Chicago-area native of Filipino descent, is also the first Asian American moderator for a general election debate.

What is the format of the vice presidential debate?

The debate is divided into nine 10 minute segments. Quijano will start each segment with an opening question and then Kaine and Pence will each have two minutes to respond. Quijano will also use the leftover time in each segment to dive deeper into the discussion topic.

How have Pence and Kaine been preparing?

Pence has held mock practice debates with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker standing in for Kaine. In Kaine’s preparation, Robert Barnett, a high-profile Washington lawyer, has been playing Pence.

What's at stake for the vice presidential candidates?

Kaine is hoping to build off Clinton’s performance in the first presidential debate, as well as to keep the conversation focused on Trump’s foibles. Pence, meanwhile, will look to bolster his ticket, articulate its policy vision and draw attention to Clinton’s weak points and controversial episodes.

Why aren’t Gary Johnson and Jill Stein’s vice presidential nominees included?

Bill Weld, running mate to Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, and Ajamu Baraka, running mate to Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, were not invited by the presidential debate commission. The VP candidates were admitted in connection with their running mates. The commission said it would only invite candidates that averaged 15 percent in five national polls it selected. Neither Johnson nor Stein made that threshold.

What is the most watched vice presidential debate?

The 2008 presidential cycle debate between then-Sen. Joe Biden and then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the most watched vice presidential debate to date, attracting 69.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Ratings. That debate broke the previous standing record of Rep. Geraldine Ferraro debating then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1984 which had a viewership of 56.7 million viewers.

How many people watched the first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton?

The first 2016 general election debate between Clinton and Trump broke previous records by attracting 84 million viewers according to Nielsen. Before that it was the first 1980 debate between then-President Jimmy Carter and Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan, where 80.6 million people watched.

Trump’s new brain trust

His transition team, larger than Hillary Clinton’s, is drilling down on the policy details Trump's campaign has skipped.

Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s preparations for taking over the federal government are as wildly different as their campaigns for the White House — and for once, Trump’s operation is the more elaborate one.

While the Republican's campaign is marked by light staffing, a scant policy agenda and the nominee’s gut-instinct style on the stump, the Trump transition team led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has assembled nearly 100 advisers who are weighing details on issues ranging from taxes and national security to decisions on which Obama administration policies should be quickly overturned, according to people familiar with its inner workings.

In contrast, Clinton’s transition team is still largely bare bones — one Democrat who has met with it said it has about 20 staffers, including part-timers. Her policy agenda has already been substantially mapped out over the past year by the hundreds of people advising her sprawling campaign network, so the transition is moving at a low-key pace while Clinton World focuses on the final weeks of the presidential contest.

“They don’t want people in Washington thinking up names to be the deputy secretary of commerce. They want people in the field helping to elect President Clinton,” another Democrat said, highlighting a feeling in the Clinton campaign that they should take nothing for granted after her loss to Barack Obama in 2008 and her unexpectedly stiff challenge this year from Sen. Bernie Sanders. “They’re not really focusing on who should be in what job.”

“Right now is not the time to talk about the first 100 days,” said Michael Lux, a progressive strategist who worked on the 1992 and 2008 transitions and has been in touch with members of Clinton’s operation. “Right now is not the time to do those kinds of outreach meetings," Lux added. If interest groups haven't already met with someone in Brooklyn, "it’s too late.”

Many of the differences reflect necessities driven by the nominees’ campaign styles: Trump’s transition team is playing catch-up, building out the policy specifics that his campaign has skipped over. Christie’s rigorous approach to transition planning and his outreach to mainstream Republicans also offer him a chance to quiet the naysayers within Trump’s inner circle, proving he deserves a place in the next administration despite the politically embarrassing revelations coming out of the Bridgegate trial back home.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign in Brooklyn has spent more than a year working with hundreds of outside advisers and advocates to develop detailed proposals for her first months in the Oval Office, leaving less of that work for the transition to handle.

Clinton World has also distanced itself from its Washington-based transition operation as the polls have tightened, fearing criticism that the nominee is overly confident about winning even though Election Day is more than a month away.

Trump's transition team and his campaign officials are also quietly mulling Cabinet nominations, even though sources said formal discussions are in the very early stages. (POLITICO reported earlier this month that Forrest Lucas, the 74-year-old co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, is a leading contender for Interior secretary should Trump win in November.) Clinton campaign officials insist that they are not focused on nominations — or at the very least, Democrats speculate that any such discussions are being restricted to the nominees’ most trusted advisers to prevent leaks.

Clinton already has a natural head start on vetting, sources noted, pointing to her running mate selection process and the throngs of officials who have served in the executive branch for the past eight years. She also can draw on the Center for American Progress, the policy-minded liberal advocacy group that has provided a home to much of her inner circle.

Christie’s team is taking its cues from the nearly 500-person-strong 2012 Romney transition project, which Democratic and Republican presidential campaign veterans alike praise as the gold standard when it comes to efforts to prepare for the presidency. Christie has enlisted veterans of Romney’s transition, including William Hagerty, who is serving as the Trump transition’s director for presidential appointments, and Jamie Burke, a former health adviser to President George W. Bush.

While Christie has had some success in recruiting lobbyists to work with the transition, other more moderate GOP operatives have rebuffed Trump aides’ advances — reflecting the lingering divide between the party's Never Trump wing and the establishment Republicans who are starting to come around.

“They’re finally trying to gather people who can at least try to talk about these issues. But these guys are a year behind where Romney was,” said one Republican who declined an offer to work with the transition. “They just don’t have the A-Team.”

Others who joined the transition said they still have reservations about a Trump presidency, but felt a duty to help him prepare for governing.

"There are lots of people who, you know, Trump wasn’t their horse. But they’re involved with the transition because they have a sense of duty or they care about the institution of the presidency and they don’t want things to go in the wrong direction," said one person close to the transition.

And the person noted that Trump's transition is the only game in town for Republicans: “None of us have been working in an administration for a long time now. And there’s a lot of pent-up energy. This is the chance to get involved."

On the other hand, Clinton is clinging to a narrow lead in the polls and is still viewed as the favorite inside the Beltway, possibly dampening interest among some Republicans.

"Even our right-leaning clients are only asking to get in front of the Clinton transition team,” said one Republican strategist who asked to remain anonymous — just in case.

Neither campaign responded to requests for comment, but Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told The Hill review last month that her transition staff have “approached their work very quietly,” adding: “This reflects our prioritizing of the task at hand, which is winning the election in November."

Democrats who have met with Clinton transition officials say it’s keeping its work quiet by design. While a few more high-profile hires are in the works, they expect the team to be much smaller than Trump’s, at least before the election.

Officially, the Clinton team is led by former Interior secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar and includes long-time Clinton confidants such as Maggie Williams and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. Other high-level advisers include former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and economist Heather Boushey. On a day-to-day level, Ann O'Leary is generally managing the policy portfolio, while Ed Meier is tasked with staffing.

Officially, former Interior secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar is leading Hillary Clinton's transition team. | Getty

The campaign has refused to confirm other lower-level hires, but the names that have leaked so far appeal to key constituencies — including former White House Hispanic outreach aide Stephanie Valencia Ramirez and John Jones, whose deep ties on the Hill include work with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Progressive activists disappointed by Salazar's leadership role cheered when we reported last month that student loan watchdog Rohit Chopra, an ally of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, had signed on to the transition.

“It’s a very tight, pretty closed group that’s running the campaign,” said another Democrat who has met with members of the Clinton transition team. "And they’re very focused on getting elected. As far as I can tell, there’s not a lot going on with respect to populating the transition team at this point."

“There’s structural memos, options memos that are being done,” said Lux, the progressive strategist who’s talked to members of Clinton's transition team. “I think the transition teams are undoubtedly taking looks at the budget that’s going to have to be submitted.”

So far, Clinton's transition team has commissioned more than 15 memos on legislative and executive planning from 20 to 30 people, estimated one of the Democratic sources. Strategies for top-priority issues were requested last month, and now a second round is due in this week, the source said.

But the doors at Clinton’s government-funded transition space at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave. NW are still generally closed for groups to discuss policy, Lux and others familiar with the operation say. After all, Clinton’s team of wonks at campaign headquarters in New York have already pre-fabbed much of her early governing agenda.

That said, key aides on Clinton's transition team have a history of making more preparations for a new presidency than they are broadcasting publicly. For example, Obama transition leader John Podesta's operation was well underway in the summer of 2008, said former Delaware Democratic Sen. Ted Kaufman, who joined the transition efforts shortly after then-Sen. Joe Biden was nominated to be Obama’s running mate.

Kaufman, who at the time was a top adviser to Biden, said he encountered “an incredible organization in 2008, underground.”

Podesta now chairs Clinton’s campaign and holds the title of president of her transition.

“It is impossible to put together a transition to take over the United States government in the time between Election Day and the inauguration," Kaufman, who is working with a nonpartisan outside group that’s helping both transitions, added in an interview. "It is essential that extensive work be done with federal agencies during the period between the convention and the election.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s transition operation, under Christie, is making up for lost time.

Traditionally, transition teams focus on executing, not creating, a candidate’s policy positions, but Christie and his team are playing a growing role in fleshing out Trump’s agenda amid long-standing unrest in the campaign’s small, Alexandria, Va.-based policy shop. One person close to the transition said it is in regular contact with the campaign to discuss policy issues that aren't yet reflected in official campaign proposals.

Another person close to the Trump transition said the team has swelled to nearly 100 people, and core staff are holding weekly or biweekly meetings to receive updates on the group's progress — sometimes at the government-provided space in downtown Washington, in the same building as Clinton’s team. Trump transition leaders have barred staff from talking to the press, with two sources telling us that they could be fired for revealing details of the team’s work.

Trump's operation has set up policy implementation teams focused on the nominee's priorities, including taxes, financial services, veterans, national security, energy and building a border wall between the United States and Mexico, as well as teams in charge of charting a path for specific federal agencies. Transition policy advisers have been tasked with writing “100 day action plans” that focus not only on which rules and regulations Trump should propose, but which of Obama’s policies Trump should quickly overturn by executive order.

In addition to Hagerty and Burke, Christie is relying on two of his closest confidants: Rich Bagger, his former chief of staff in the New Jersey governor's office, is the executive director of the transition team, and William Palatucci, Christie’s former law partner, is the transition’s general counsel.

The Trump transition team is rapidly building out its team of advisers, according to sources. J.D. Gordon, a retired Navy commander and Trump national security adviser, is shifting to the transition to focus on veterans and national security. Andrew Bremberg, a policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a HHS official under Bush, has taken on a wide-ranging policy-focused role.

Mike Catanzaro, a longtime Capitol Hill aide who served as an energy adviser to former House Speaker John Boehner, is working on energy issues. Eric Ueland, a veteran Republican Capitol Hill aide and top staffer on the Senate Budget Committee, is helping to lead outreach to Capitol Hill and outside groups. Former Reagan administration Attorney General Ed Meese, a one-time critic of Trump's candidacy, is heading a Trump transition group focused on the Executive Office of the President, which includes the Office of Management and Budget.

Two sources said the transition is approaching a broad swath of lobbyists and policy experts — many of whom have strong business ties or relationships with Christie — to gauge interest in working for the transition, often on a part-time basis. Christie and his aides have also organized several closed-door meetings with lobbyists, including a meeting next week with tech industry officials.

The meetings with lobbyists have two purposes: recruiting possible policy advisers and raising money to cover the transition team’s expenses. In a Tuesday email to Trump supporters obtained by, a Trump transition official encouraged lobbyists to give to Trump for America Inc., the group set up to support the transition's work. "This is not a donation to the Trump for President campaign. If you have donated or maxed out to the campaign, you may also donate to this entity," the official wrote.

While the Trump and Clinton transition teams are funded partly by the taxpayers, they each need to raise several million additional dollars.

Despite the Trump transition's efforts to reach out to key Republicans, some former administration officials are still waiting by the phone.

"There are lot of W people who are looking forward to working in another Republican administration,” said Republican strategist Ronald Langston, referring to his former colleagues in the George W. Bush administration, where he worked in the Commerce Department and helped with Bush’s much-lauded outgoing transition effort. Langston keeps track of a broad network of former appointees from both Bush presidencies in person and over social media, “and I know they haven’t been contacted.”

Comey on Clinton email probe: 'Don't call us weasels'

The normally stoic FBI chief grew emotional as he rejected claims that the FBI was in the tank for Clinton.

FBI Director James Comey is passionately defending the integrity of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email setup, arguing that critics are unfair to suggest that agents were biased or succumbed to political pressure.

“You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels. We are not weasels,” Comey declared Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. “We are honest people and … whether or not you agree with the result, this was done the way you want it to be done.”

The normally stoic FBI chief grew emotional and emphatic as he rejected claims from Republican lawmakers that the FBI was essentially in the tank for Clinton when it recommended that neither she nor any of her aides be prosecuted in connection with the presence of classified information on Clinton’s private email server. He acknowledged he has “no patience” for such allegations.

“I knew there were going to be all kinds of rocks thrown, but this organization and the people who did this are honest, independent people. We do not carry water for one side or the other. That’s hard for people to see because so much of our country, we see things through sides,” Comey said. “We are not on anybody’s side.”

It was at least Comey’s third appearance on Capitol Hill since the Clinton email probe was closed, but the FBI director’s assurances did not seem to satisfy House Republicans, who said the decision not to prosecute Clinton or her aides smacked of favoritism.

“I would be in big trouble, and I should be in big trouble, if I did something like that,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). “There seems to be different strokes for different folks. I think there’s a heavy hand coming from someplace else.”

Comey insisted there is no double standard, though he said there would be serious consequences — short of criminal prosecution — if FBI personnel handled classified information as Clinton and her aides did.

“Mary or Joe, if they did this in the FBI, would not be prosecuted,” the FBI director said. “They’d be in big trouble, but they would not be prosecuted. That wouldn’t be fair.”

Republicans suggested there were numerous potential targets of prosecution in the case and repeatedly questioned prosecutors’ decisions to grant forms of immunity to at least five people in connection with the probe.

“You cleaned the slate before you even knew. … You gave immunity to people that you were going to need to make a case if a case was to be made,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

GOP lawmakers focused in particular on the Justice Department’s decision to give a form of immunity to Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to obtain computers containing emails related to the case.

“Laptops don’t go to the Bureau of Prisons,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said. “The immunity was not for the laptop, it was for Cheryl Mills.”

The FBI director repeated an explanation he gave for the first time at a Senate hearing Tuesday, that the deal to get the laptops was wise because subpoenaing computers from an attorney would be complex and time consuming.

“Anytime you know you’re subpoenaing a laptop from a lawyer that involved a lawyer’s practice of law, you know you’re getting into a big megillah,” Comey said.

Republicans also questioned why Mills and Samuelson were allowed to attend Clinton’s July 2 interview at FBI headquarters as her attorneys, given that they had been interviewed as witnesses in the email probe.

“I don’t think there’s any reasonable prosecutor out there who would have allowed two immunized witnesses central to the prosecution and proving the case against her to sit in the room with the FBI interview of the subject of that investigation,” said Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), a former U.S. attorney. He said those circumstances signaled that the decision not to prosecute Clinton was already made when she sat down for the interview.

“If colleagues of ours believe I am lying about when I made this decision, please urge them to contact me privately so we can have a conversation about this,” Comey said. “The decision was made after that because I didn’t know what was going to happen during the interview. She would maybe lie in the interview in a way we could prove.”

Comey also said it wasn’t the FBI’s role to dictate who could or couldn’t act as Clinton’s lawyers. “I would also urge you to tell me what tools we have as prosecutors and investigators to kick out of the interview someone that the subject says is their lawyer,” the FBI chief said, while acknowledging he’d never encountered such a situation before.

Ratcliffe said Clinton and the others should have been called to a grand jury, where no one is allowed to accompany the witness.

Comey did say there was no chance of charges against Mills or Samuelson by the time of the Clinton interview.

“We had already concluded we did not have a prosecutable case against Cheryl Mills or Heather Samuelson at that point. If we they were targets of our investigation, maybe we would have canceled the interview,” the FBI director said. ‘Frankly, our focus was on the subject. The subject at that point was Hillary Clinton.”

Despite the second-guessing from Republicans, Comey said he remained convinced that prosecution wasn’t even remotely appropriate given the facts.

“As painful as this is for people, this was not a close call,” he said. “This was done by pros in the right way.”