Kaine, Stewart face off in first debate

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine left gestures as Republican challenger Corey Stewart right listens during the Virginia Bar Association debate at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. Saturday

Tim Kaine to Corey Stewart at First Debate ‘We Are a Nation of Immigrants’ AP

It all happened during a debate on Saturday with incumbent US Senator and former Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine. The audience and Kaine then erupted in laughter.

Last week, Trump drew widespread condemnation for failing to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin when they met over claims of Russian interference in United States elections.

Stewart minimized the security risk posed to the United States by Trump's cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, saying the Russians "have been spying for years". In 2017, Stewart said Virginia is the state of "Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson" and that the Confederate flag "is our heritage, it's what makes us Virginia, and if you take that away, we lose our identity".

Stewart is a former global trade attorney and was an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign. But Republicans haven't won a statewide contest since 2009.

A conservative provocateur who often insults politicians in both parties, Stewart launched several broadsides against Kaine's record as governor and in the Senate.

In the video uploaded to Twitter, candidate Corey Stewart - who has been dogged by his own racist comments and advocacy for the Confederacy - was speaking up for the Republican president when he went a bit too far for the audience. "Kaine..." at which point the audience began laughing loudly and Stewart stood looked flustered before soldiering on as the guffaws died down. Kaine said it was "disgraceful" that Stewart had campaigned in support of Roy Moore, a defeated Senate candidate in Alabama who was accused of sexual misconduct.

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