Local educators use veep debate as teaching moment - KCTV5

Local educators use veep debate as teaching moment

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As vice presidential candidates take the debate stage Tuesday night, many local educators are using it as a teaching moment. (AP) As vice presidential candidates take the debate stage Tuesday night, many local educators are using it as a teaching moment. (AP)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

As vice presidential candidates take the debate stage Tuesday night, many local educators are using it as a teaching moment.

In their only debate face-off, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine will try to carry forward a fresh burst of Democratic momentum in the presidential campaign while Indiana Gov. Mike Pence seeks to steady Donald Trump's White House bid after one of the Republican's worst stretches of the race.

Pence and Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, seem unlikely to dramatically change the way voters view the top two, who are among the most well-known figures in the country. Still, the nationally televised debate will be a spotlight opportunity for the longtime politicians to introduce themselves to Americans, energize party loyalists and potentially sway the shrinking pool of undecided voters.

"A lot of my students are very interested. They've been watching," Center High School teacher Andrew Hanch said.

Hanch encourages his AP civic students to talk about the election.

"There's a lot of emotion. They have strong opinions about who they want to win. they have reasons," he said.

Hanch even had his students watch and discuss the first round of presidential debates in class.

"It has been interesting to talk about this in class. People have different viewpoints about who they think is fit to be president," student Tyler Frazier said.

And Tuesday night, the students can observe Kaine, who has a local connection.

"We thought it was cool how someone from Kansas City can go onto national government," Johnny Tancredi said.

The 90-minute showdown at Virginia's Longwood University will be moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News. While last week's first presidential debate was watched by a record-setting television audience of 84 million people, Tuesday's contest is expected to have smaller viewership given Pence and Kaine's lower profiles in the campaign.

Hanch wants his students to feel engaged and informed about voting in their first national election.

"Hopefully, they can pick up what they need here so they can get involved in their lives and see why voting is so important," Hanch said.

In a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, more than half of registered voters said they didn't know enough about Kaine to venture an opinion about him and about 44 percent said the same for Pence.

Kaine's career in debate started in Kansas City. He was on the team at Rockhurst High School in 1975.

Kaine, who served as Virginia's governor before becoming senator, is largely in step with Clinton on key issues. While he voted to give President Barack Obama fast-track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership, he's since joined Clinton in opposing the final version of the trade pact.

Both Pence and Kaine are deeply religious, which could bring faith to the forefront of the debate, a rarity in this campaign.

Copyright 2016 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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