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One of the main lines of attack that the Clinton campaign has used against Donald Trump has to do with compassion, or more specifically the Republican nominee’s lack of it. It’s an easy argument to make. On many issues, from the resettlement of refugees and the treatment of illegal immigrants to his support for torture and his personal insults against Muslims, Hispanics, war heroes and beauty queens, Trump doesn’t exactly exude compassion.

An April poll found that only 17 percent of voters felt Trump was at least “somewhat compassionate.” Clinton, meanwhile, has played up her supposed compassion. When President Obama endorsed her, he said, “She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done.” The poll found 42 percent of respondents felt Hillary was compassionate.

But with his response to a question about how the candidates’ faith informs their policy preferences, Trump vice presidential nominee Mike Pence tried to wrest the mantle of compassion from Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine.

Debate moderator Elaine Quijano asked the candidates about how their faith affects their lives and to “discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position?”

Kaine mentioned that while he opposes the death penalty, it was his job to oversee a handful of executions while he was governor of Virginia. Pence then said that his faith compelled him to “stand with great compassion for the sanctity of life.”

In Pence’s view that means rejecting late-term abortion, which involves the taking of innocent human lives who can feel pain. “The very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me,” he said.

It also involves assisting women undergoing difficult pregnancies and promoting adoption. “I’m also very pleased at the fact we’re well on our way in Indiana to becoming the most pro-adoption state in America. I think if you’re going to be pro-life, you should — you should be pro-adoption,” he said.

Later, Pence said, “A society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn. I believe it with all my heart.”

Notably, Kaine didn’t spend any time defending late-term abortions or taxpayer funding of abortion, which his running mate supports. Instead, he made a couple of statements about trusting women to make their own reproductive decisions and then quickly pivoted to attacking Trump for a comment he made months ago about endorsing “some form of punishment” for women who abort (a statement he later walked back). As a Washington Examiner editorial pointed out at the time, the true pro-life position (like the old laws against abortion) opposes punishing women, precisely on the grounds of compassion. The fact that Trump did not know this reveals how little he understands the pro-life ethos.

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Nevertheless, Pence gave the public a glimpse of what a more compassionate stance can look like, and it may have been his finest moment of the debate.

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner

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