Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday said that his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, achieved the "single most decisive victory in the history of presidential debates" in his faceoff with his Democratic counterpart, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
"Mike Pence won the debate, and I'm getting a lot of credit," said Trump, adding, "Last night America got a chance to look at my judgment. That was my first hire!"
"He was cool. He was smart. I mean, just take a look at him: He was meant to do what he is doing," said the real estate mogul at a campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada.
Cheered on by the crowd, Trump broached - during his remarks at the rally - one of the main issues at the VP debate Tuesday evening at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia: his relationship with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
"I don't love, I don't hate. We'll see how it works. We'll see. Maybe we'll have a good relationship," Trump said of his potential relationship with Putin, if he were to be elected on Nov. 8. "Maybe we'll a horrible relationship. Maybe we'll have a relationship right in the middle."
However, the magnate emphasized that he is willing to work with Putin to fight the Islamic State jihadists, despite recent disagreements on a host of issues between Washington and Moscow.
"I can say this: if we got along with Russia and Russia went out with us and knocked the hell out of ISIS, that's OK with me, folks," he said, to applause and cheers from the audience.
Pence and Kaine went head to head in a sometimes heated debate in which the Democrat was more aggressive, repeating time and again that both the Indiana governor and Trump himself have several times called Putin a "better leader" than U.S. President Barack Obama, adding that they are confusing dictatorship with leadership.
At a campaign rally in Harrisburg, Virginia, hours earlier, Pence alluded to the debate, saying that Trump had called him to congratulate him for his performance, something that "really meant the world to me."
"Some people think I won, but I'll leave that to others," Pence told the Virginia rally crowd. "What I can tell you is from where I sat, Donald Trump won the debate."
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton congratulated Kaine via the social networks, e-mail and on the phone, and her campaign said that her VP pick fulfilled his task of defending the former secretary of state and attacking Trump, forcing Pence to deny time and again the magnate's statements before television viewers.
The media and political analysts agreed on Wednesday that Pence won the debate, but they were also in agreement that the Republican failed at defending his "boss" over his many controversial statements.
In that sense, they argued that Kaine, who goes back on the campaign trail on Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, was the more consistent in his arguments and fuller and clearer in his explanations on different issues, although they docked him for trying constantly interrupt his rival.
Pence, whose aim was to appeal to more moderate voters, managed to maintain his composure, soften the positions of the Trump-Pence campaign and try to sow doubt about the incendiary rhetoric that the mogul for months has injected into the political discourse.