Monday night is a big night for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Dare it be called a huuuggeee night?) And when you have a big night, particularly a night where you are expected to perform for potentially millions of viewers, you want to have your closest people near you. Republican VP candidate Mike Pence has taken a firm "stand by your man" approach since he was named running mate last July. But given the tradition of the vice presidential candidates keeping a distance from the debates, many are wondering, is Mike Pence at the presidential debate?
Balking tradition, Pence will not be watching at a campaign headquarters or in his living room while wearing fuzzy socks with a pot of coffee like some of us will. Instead, Pence has a seat in the audience, close enough to smell the tension and sweat under the bright lights. He even has a seat next to potential First Lady Melania Trump. In an interview with CNN, an advisor explained the unconventional move saying Pence, "likes to be there for Mr. Trump in big moments."
And this is a big moment for Trump, maybe the biggest so far in the election. Going into the debates, national polls show the candidates in a tight race. "Tight race" may even be an understatement. Thanks to a likely combination of renewed interest in Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's emails and The Clinton Foundation, and Trump's new found teleprompter usage, Trump has managed to almost close up the gap.
Not only is Pence attending the debates, he is working them as well. In the hours leading up to the debate, Pence met with several media outlets including CNN and MSNBC to talk up his candidate. However, Pence was pretty mum on Trump's debate strategy, offering a, "We'll see where it goes" to CNN correspondents.
But Trump isn't the only one who has a debate to worry about. In a week, Pence will debate the Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine. Pence has been preparing, using Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a stand-in for Kaine during prep sessions. Pence is scheduled to debate Kaine on October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
While Pence has his own debate in the future, he is giving Monday night to Trump. And like my parents at all of my dance recitals, he will be watching with rapt attention as close to the stage as he could be.