Mike Pence stepped up to be the good little toady during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, where he defended his running-mate's remarks about Vladimir Putin during last night's NBC Commander-in-Chief forum.
"I think it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country," Pence said. "And that's going to change the day that Donald Trump becomes president."
Or in other words, never.
What does "stronger leader" even mean, especially when said in an admiring tone of voice? Does it mean that they like the idea of poisoning political opponents, jailing pollsters and reporters with dissenting voices? Are they enamored of the notion of state media and propaganda pushing?
Pence allowed later in the interview that Trump did say he didn't much care for the Russian system of government, but still thought Vladimir Putin was the "stronger leader."
By those standards, I suppose Kim Jong-Un would also be considered a stronger leader, even if he didn't much care for the totalitarian regime the North Korean President imposes on his people.
By the way, Pence made these remarks at the Reagan Library. I'm pretty sure Ronald Reagan wouldn't have seen Trump or Pence's remarks in the same light.
Twitter reacted, as you might expect.
Of course, if you agree with ex-CIA Acting Director Michael Morell that Trump is an "unwitting agent of Vladimir Putin," this all makes a little more sense. Apparently that's now true of Mike Pence as well.
Perhaps not as "unwitting" as Morell assumes. If only we had Trump's tax returns. If we did, we could know how much money he owes Russian oligarchs, and how hard he has to work to get out from under them.
Maybe that would have been a better question for CNN to pursue.