Virginia, Oct 5: Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence narrowly beat Senator Tim Kaine as they sparred on US policies, the abortion law, the war in Syria and "safe zones" for refugees in the US in a 90-minute TV debate, a CNN poll showed. Debating Kaine on Tuesday night, Indiana Governor Pence taught a master class on how it's done. Every time Kaine attacked, Pence parried and deftly shifted the conversation to entirely something else. When Kaine demanded that Pence defend Donald Trump's secrecy on his taxes, the Republican ducked and talked about how low taxes are good for economic growth. Pence, in the debate, aimed to stabilise Trump's bid after a turbulent week in which the billionaire admitted that he greatly benefited from "unfair" US taxes laws. Whenever Kaine offered an extended list of Trump insults that he believed Pence would defend, the billionaire's running mate did not defend. Instead, he pivoted to complaining about Clinton and the "basket of deplorables". Pence was tight, disciplined, and focused on his talking points. He never took the bait, never let himself get dragged into unfavourable terrain, and simply ignored subjects he did not wish to discuss. He stuck to the script in toto. It was a genuinely bravura performance, one that a passel of GOP senators and Congress members running in tough races ought to study. The high point of the debate came when Kaine launched into a devastating attack on Trump's foreign policy. Clinton's running mate raised Trump's Twitter war with Miss Universe. He ridiculed the billionaire for having no plan -- and yet harping on "I have a secret plan." Kaine kept shooting with Trump liners like -- "I know more than all the generals about ISIL" ; "I am going to fire all the general"; "John McCain is no hero"; "the generals need to be fired"; and "NATO is obsolete".