Hillary Clinton wants to make one thing very, very clear: Tim Kaine was GREAT in Tuesday's vice-presidential debate. So good. The best. He might have, in fact, added his name to the list of the world's greatest debaters — right there alongside Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and Winston Churchill.
This is what's commonly known as overcompensating. Like if people say you are dumb, you try to wedge lots of big words into every sentence you write. That sort of sesquipedalianism is, of course, a tell for overcompensation.
Witness the various reactions to Kaine's performance that Clinton and her aides offered throughout the day Wednesday.
At around 10 a.m., Clinton had emailed Kaine to say he had done well.
Three hours later, Clinton had talked to Kaine on the phone to praise his heroic performance.
Here's the reality: Kaine was not so good Tuesday night. (He wasn't Trump-level bad. But he wasn't great.) He spent the first 20 minutes of the debate amped up beyond belief, tripping over his words as he tried to rush them out before his allotted time expired. The next 20 minutes were relatively solid. But then Kaine decided he would interrupt Mike Pence every time the Indiana governor started to speak. And Kaine kept that up for the duration of the debate.
It wasn't a good look. I named Kaine a loser in my post-debate winners and losers column. Polling done among debate watchers seemed to confirm that Kaine had lost. Even the early spin out of the Clinton campaign was that Pence might have done some good for himself but that he hadn't helped Trump in the least. (I think that's totally right!)
But as Wednesday morning turned into Wednesday afternoon, it became clear that Kaine's performance was coming under increasing criticism. Enter Clinton to insist that Kaine was, is and always will be the greatest debater this world — and this universe — will ever see.
Don't be fatuous, Hillary.