Where the heck is Farmville? Vice presidential debate taking place far off grid

What to watch in the vice presidential debate

(CNN) – The first, and only, vice-presidential debate, will take place in a place called Farmville, VA. Population: 8,079. It's far off the grid but a location many consider to be a true representation of America.

The candidates on the Democratic and Republican tickets are Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence, respectively.

The CNN Running Mate crew decided to take a road trip, rather than fly into the nearest big city, so they could get a true glimpse of the town and its people.

The debate

Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence come into Tuesday night's debate with a mission.

Pence needs to help Donald Trump recover from his lost week and re-focus his message, as well as convince people the White House is in good hands with the unpredictable Trump. Kaine wants ensure Hillary Clinton can solidify her post-debate gains in several swing states and in national polls.

What to watch for in the debate

On releasing tax returns, birtherism, debate prep and name-calling, Pence has chosen to go his own way during the campaign. He has also talked about his record in Indiana as a conservative governor. That daylight has left Trump in a somewhat awkward position and it's allowed Pence to maintain a future in politics.

But breaking with your opponent in a studio interview is one thing, doing it on stage next to an opponent who wants to pummel your running mate is something else entirely.

Pence has to defend Trump, who is boasting about "brilliantly" using tax laws for his benefit, after a New York Times story outlining a more than $900 million loss and suggesting he may not have paid federal income taxes for 18 years beginning in 1995. 

Look for Kaine to possibly exploit the fact that Pence has been transparent in releasing his taxes, compared to Trump who hasn't released them and is the nominee. And the Virginia senator will no doubt talk about Trump's temperament as commander-in-chief.

Pence will go on the attack against Clinton's policy record. Trump missed opportunities at the first debate to go after Clinton on obvious lines of attack like the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi. Pence, a former talk-show host, won't make the same mistake. "Hillary's record on foreign affairs alone could literally take up the entire 90 minutes and it wouldn't be pretty," he told supporters Monday night.

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