The Republican National Committee was a little overeager in advance of Tuesday night’s VP debate. With over an hour to go before the debate began, the RNC’s official website posted several stories that appeared to declare Republican Mike Pence the winner.
At least three partially written stories, with the titles “Who Won the Vice Presidential Debate,” “It’s Clear Who Lost the VP Debate, Hillary Clinton,” and “5 Questions Tim Kaine Was NOT Asked,” were posted to the website early on Tuesday evening before being taken down sometime before 8 p.m. Screenshots of the stories taken by Refinery29 before the posts were removed from the GOP's website showed prewritten text declaring the outcome a clear win for Pence.
“The consensus was clear after the dust settled, Mike Pence was the clear winner of the debate,” one story declared.
The same story also suggested Mike Pence’s “top moments” from the debate to be on the economy and “highlighting Hillary’s scandals,” a preview of what to expect from the GOP candidate in an hour or so.
Another story suggested that Democrat Tim Kaine had stumbled in answering questions on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s policies. “Tim Kaine was unable to answer for his running-mate’s record of failure, corruption and secrecy at tonight’s debate,” the post read. “The American people have spoken and it’s clear who tonight’s biggest loser is, Hillary Clinton.”
An RNC spokesperson did not immediately return Refinery29's request for comment on the posts.
Of course, it’s hardly unexpected for a party to declare its candidate the winner. Custom generally dictates, though, that it at least wait until the debate has started.