Former Vice President Mike Pence's attempted laugh lines fell flat and garnered minimal audience reaction during Wednesday evening's GOP debate.
Two of Pence's attempted one-liners — one about the U.S. economy and the other focused on his support for school choice policies — failed to generate the intended audience reaction. Instead, Pence's lines were met mainly with silence or a smattering of applause.
"Joe Biden doesn't belong on a picket line, he belongs on the unemployment line," Pence remarked when asked about the ongoing autoworker strike earlier in the debate.
The line, which Pence appeared to expect to draw an audience reaction, was met largely with silence.
The former vice president then added that Biden's green energy agenda, which calls for greater adoption of electric vehicles, was to blame for current strife in the U.S. auto industry.
Then, later in the debate, during a back-and-forth with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie regarding education policies, Pence jokingly remarked about how he has been sleeping with a teacher for nearly four decades.
"The public school system is no longer run by the public. It is run by the teachers unions in this country," Christie said. "And when you have the president of the United States sleeping with a member of the teachers union, there is no chance that you can take the stranglehold away from the teachers union every day," he continued in reference to President Biden's wife Jill Biden.
"I want to answer the question as well that you just asked because by way of full disclosure, Chris, you've mentioned the president's situation," Pence responded. "My wife isn't a member of the teachers union, but I got to admit, I have been sleeping with a teacher for 38 years — full disclosure. But education is a state and local function."
Like his line earlier, the one-liner largely fell flat with members of the debate audience.
The second RNC debate was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
To qualify for the debate, candidates were required to have at least 3% support in two national polls or 3% in one national poll as well as two polls from four of the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Candidates also needed to show they had at least 50,000 individual donors.
On Tuesday, the RNC announced where the seven Republican candidates participating in the debate will stand on stage. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to stand center stage flanked by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum and former Vice President Mike Pence.