Someone apparently made a major snafu behind the scenes of the Republican Party's official website, and it's generated some embarrassing attention just hours before the start of the first and only 2016 vice presidential debate. Namely, they (accidentally, one assumes) prematurely posted a slew of pre-written blog posts about the debate, posts which were clearly meant to go up until after Tim Kaine and Mike Pence's face-off was over. And while the articles were quickly deleted, the internet never forgets. Here are the stories the GOP pre-wrote on the VP debate.
A big hat tip to NBC News producer and reporter Frank Thorp V, who nabbed screenshots of the articles before somebody caught wise and pulled them down. To be clear, the sin here isn't that they had some things ready to go ― although it's a little telling that they're assuming Pence will be the clear consensus winner, in the world of rapid-response politics, everyone has a narrative they want to advance, and it pays to have things prepared.
Rather, this is probably a simple case of some hapless staffer messing up, and subsequently living through their worst waking nightmare. Here are the headlines Thorp captured before GOP.com was fixed.
If you're hoping to get a fuller taste of the deliciously too-soon takes the Republicans unveiled here, you're in luck! Here's a screenshot of the post declaring Pence the winner, nabbed before it was pulled down. It's pretty sparse, but hey, that makes sense. After all, the debate was still more than an hour away from starting, and however optimistic the folks at GOP.com might be about their guy's chances, they are not fortune tellers.
On the bright side, you now know the two things that whoever wrote this felt the most confident about ― that Pence would prevail on the economy, and would hit Clinton over scandals from throughout her career. This could end up being valuable info if you're trying to predict how the debate goes down. If you're the betting type, in other words, put your money on Pence looking past Kaine tonight to flash his fangs at Clinton at every possible opportunity.
After all, Pence is theoretically equipped to take some more restrained, better-delivered shots at Clinton than Trump is, because unlike the boss, he knows how to keep himself under control. The only question left for the folks at GOP.com, however, is this: Will they still roll out those pre-written pieces after the debate ends and risk the internet's mockery? Only time will tell.