"nightline" is next, thanks for watching! this is "nightline." >> tonight, vice versas. the vice presidential candidates in a heated debate. but not necessarily against one another. >> the thought of donald trump as commander in chief scares us to death. >> there's a reason why people question the trustworthiness of hillary clinton and that's because they're paying attention. >> both hopefuls demonstrating their loyalty. >> you are for -- >> you ar drum supremacist. >> he's not a polished politician like you and hillary clinton -- >> did they change voters' minds? expert reaction and public opinion tonight. plus finally free. a man wrongfully convicted of a brutal crime spending 25 years behind bars, exonerated by dna evidence. >> god is good! god is good! >> catching up on lost time.
>> cell phones didn't exist 25 years ago. all this is new to me. >> inside the project working to free others like him. and watt's up? wish you could avoid income taxes like donald trump? nick watt takes a hard-working american to a celebrity accountant to see if he can find loopholes for the little guys. >> how did they get away with that? >> first the "nightline 5." when cold and flu hold you back, thera flu express max in new caplets, maximum strength formula with a unique warming sensation you instantly feel. therathrough for a powerful comeback. >> beneful is excellent, the first ingredient is chicken. i feel he turns into a puppy again. try beneful healthy weight with chicken. >> number one coming up in 60
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the vice presidential debate was supposed to be the civil, sober, and serious one. waged between two traditional politicians who have been compared to sitcom dads. but mike pence and tim kaine spent 90 minutes talking over and past one another, most of it led by kaine, who once called himself boring but came into tonight's face-off clearly amped up. did it work? here's abe abc's david wright. >> reporter: tonight in virginia, the jv debate. the two men battling it out to be a heartbeat away from the presidency each made their case. >> six times tonight i have said to governor pence, i can't imagine how you can defend your running mate's position on one issue after the next. and in all six cases he's refused to defend -- >> don't put words in my mouth. >> reporter: democrat tim kaine
fashioned himself the attack dog. >> the thought of donald trump as commander in chief scares us to death. >> reporter: forcing republican mike pence to defend trump. >> i can't imagine how governor pence can defend the insult-driven, selfish, me-first style of donald trump. >> senator, you and hillary clinton would know a lot about an insult-driven campaign. it really is remarkable. >> reporter: pence, poised and steady, deflected. painting the democrats as mud slingers. >> the campaign of hillary clinton and tim kaine has been an avalanche of insults -- >> you are a donald trump supremacist. let me talk about this issue -- >> senator, i think i'm still on my time. >> isn't this a discussion? >> this is open discussion. governor, you'll have an opportunity -- >> let me finish my sentence. i appreciated the hired, fired then. you used that a whole lot. i think your running mate used a lot of dud lines. >> reporter: put on the spot over donald trump's taxes, specifically why hasn't he released his returns? and why did a leaked copy of his '95 return show that trump
declared nearly a $1 billion loss, potentially reducing his tax liability to zero for 18 years? >> he went through a very difficult time, but he used the tax code just the way it's supposed to be used and he did it brilliantly. >> how do you know that? you haven't seen his tax return. >> he's created a business that's worth billions of dollars -- >> how do you know that? >> with regard to paying taxes this whole not paying taxes and people saying he didn't pay taxes for years, donald trump has created tens of thousands of jobs. >> reporter: kaine hit back. >> donald trump started this campaign in 2014. he said, if i run for president, i will absolutely release my taxes. >> and he will. >> he's broken his first promise. second, he stood on -- >> he said he will. >> he stood on the stage last week, when hillary said you haven't been paying taxes, he said, that makes me smart. so it's smart not to pay for our military, it's smart not to pay for veterans, it's smart not to pay for teachers, and i guess all of us who do pay for those things i guess were stupid.
>> reporter: as contentious as tonight's debate was in all honesty it can't compete with the clash at the top of the ticket. ratings alone, clinton versus trump round one, was the super bowl. the highest-rated debate in tv history. tonight's contest, more like the world championship of darts. entertaining enough. but bound to appeal to a much smaller audience. that said, consider this. donald trump, if elected, would be the oldest president ever. hillary clinton -- only a few years younger, and she's faced questions about her health. all the more reason to pay attention. either one of these men could end up with the top job someday. tonight, pence did his best to channel ronald reagan. >> there they go again. >> reporter: kaine tried to ronald reagan him right back. >> ronald reagan said something interesting about nuclear proliferation in the 1980s. he said, the problem with nuclear proliferation is that
some fool or maniac could trigger a catastrophic event. and i think that's who governor pence's running mate is. >> oh, come on. >> exactly who president reagan warned us about. >> senator, that even beneath you and hillary clinton. that's pretty low. >> is everybody ready to win big tomorrow? >> reporter: kaine came into this debate with a reputation of mr. nice guy. >> i want to make it very clear he's trying to fuzz up what donald trump has said. >> reporter: tonight he did his level best to throw sharp elbows. >> he's got kind of a personal mt. rushmore. vladimir putin, kim jong-un. >> please. >> moammar gadhafi, saddam hussein. >> oh, come on. >> the game plan was to be aggressive and he definitely was too aggressive. especially in comparison to pence. who was trying to come across as a very calm, cool, collected candidate. >> reporter: in one exchange accusing trump of being the political equivalent of a super villain. >> donald trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons. i'd love to hear governor pence tell me what's so enjoyable or
comical about nuclear war. >> governor pence? >> did you work on that one a long time? that had a lot of creative lines in it. >> i'm going to see if you can defend any of it. >> i can defend -- >> reporter: in the middle of the defend, donald trump retweeted that kaine looked like an evil crook out of the batman movies. >> that is absolutely false and you know it. >> absolutely truth. >> reporter: for both men this was a coming-out party, the first time they'd been tested on a national stage. although their bosses bickered plenty last week. >> for 30 years you've been doing it. and now you're just starting to think of solutions. >> actually -- >> excuse me. i will bring back jobs. you can't bring back jobs. >> well, actually, i have thought about this quite a bit. >> richard nixon -- >> reporter: the understudies were arguably even worse. [ talking at the same time ] >> gentlemen, the people at home cannot understand either weave you when you speak over each other. >> these guys, and donald trump has said it, deportation force.
they want to go house to house, school to school, business to business, and kick out 16 million people. and i cannot -- >> that's nonsense. >> i cannot believe -- >> reporter: pence pushed back. >> we have a deportation force called immigrations and customs enforcement. and the union for immigrations and customs enforcement for the first time in their history endorsed donald trump to be the next president. >> reporter: pence was scrupulously polite. ever the grownup. >> mr. trump has said -- >> a nation without borders is not a nation. donald trump has committed to restoring the borders of this nation. >> reporter: unlike his boss, pref preternaturally calm, refusing to take the bait. >> trying to keep up with the insult-driven campaign -- >> i'm saying facts about your running mate. >> senator, please -- >> don't put words in my mouth, and i'm not defending him. >> you're not. >> most of what you've said is completely false and the american people know that. >> i'll run through the list of thing hts. >> senator, please --
>> one canned date blatantly not telling the truth in a lot of situations, that will be mr. pence. and then the other candidate, kaine, who didn't come across likeable because he kept interrupting, he kept appearing to be rude. >> reporter: being a vice presidential candidate may be a thankless job. but for both men the outcome of this debate has huge implications. the one whose boss loses will likely be waiting in the wings to run for the top job four years from now. the other will be waiting in the wings much, much closer. i'm david wright for "nightline" in new york. >> thanks to david wright. >> sunday night the second presidential debate, just five days away. and it will be co-moderated by our own martha raddatz. full team coverage here on abc on sunday night. coming up next, you're going to experience the first minutes, days and weeks of freedom with a man who just got out of prison after 25 years for a crime he did not commit. of proof. proof of less joint pain.
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you're going to see the first moments of freedom for a man who did 25 years for a crime he didn't commit. he's been released into a modern world that may as well be another planet. now navigating cell phones, employment, and the question what role, if any, should anger play in his life? you are watching what tony wright calls the best day of his life. walking out of prison taking his first steps as a newly freed man. >> god is good! god is good! god is good! >> reporter: grateful even after
spending the last 25 years locked up for a brutal crime he didn't commit. the 1991 rape and murder of 77-year-old louise tally. wright was sentenced to life in prison. he was just 20 years old when he was arrested. >> when you found yourself in shackles, being accused of rape and murder, and on your way to jail, what was going through your mind? >> man, i was crying inside like a baby. but i couldn't let those guys see it, man. i was numb. my whole body shut down. >> reporter: he says after the police in philadelphia questioned him, a detective came in with papers for him to sign. >> i wanted to look at the papers, see what i was signing. they said, just sign, you can go home. everything they told me to do, i did. >> reporter: the papers contained a detailed confession written in longhand by the detective, even noting the black sweatshirt with chicago bulls and a pair of blue jeans with suede on them that detectives say they later found at tony's apartment. years later, dna evidence would
tell a very different story. a team of lawyers, including peter newfeld and nina morrison with the innocence project, fought for years just to get permission to conduct dna tests on the rape kit and on that clothing entered into evidence. >> when that dna evidence came back and showed that you had not raped her, what was going through your mind? >> one of the happiest days of my life. i wanted my family to know that i was innocent. i wanted miss tally's family to know that anthony wright didn't commit the heinous crime against their loved one. >> reporter: you might think the story ends here. that with the magic bullet of dna, tony would be immediately released. you would be wrong. >> anthony wright still in state prison facing i can tell you a retrial -- >> the prosecutor decided, i don't care, i'm going to take it to trial, i'm going to invent a new theory of guilt, even if i have no evidence to support it. that's so offensive, it's so
immoral. >> reporter: just six weeks ago, a second jury deliberated for less than an hour. >> the foreman said in a loud and clear voice, not guilty, and looked right at tony. he started to cry. >> i think i let out the loudest scream in the courtroom. >> tony's legs started to buckle. >> one of the most profound moments of my 44 years at that time. >> reporter: jurors embraced him after the retrial. >> the evidence was so compelling for tony that there really could have been no other verdict. >> reporter: in statements to abc news, the philadelphia d.a.'s office stood by its decision to retry tony and the evidence collected by police, saying the verdict only shows that the jury did not find that anthony wright's guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. nationally, nearly two-thirds of all the people exonerated through dna evidence are african-american. >> it's hardly unreasonable to
conclude that there is some racial bias at work. certainly there are questions that need to be answered about why tony was wrongfully prosecuted in the first place. >> congratulations. >> appreciate it. thanks so much. >> reporter: two days after tony's exoneration, we caught up with him in fill. >> this is independence plaza -- >> reporter: as he was trying to get a toehold in his new life. >> wow. >> reporter: one of his lawyers, sam silver, by his side. a passing reminder of life on the inside -- >> i was just on that bus a couple days ago. >> reporter: a bus carrying some of his old prisonmates to court. tony's freedom comes with something he has not had in a quarter century -- choice. everything from what to eat -- >> good? >> oh, man. >> reporter: to which eyeglasses to wear. >> that's cool. >> look at that. your first picture. >> reporter: and then there's that new cell phone to figure out. >> cell phones didn't exist 25 years ago. all this is new to me. >> reporter: the cost of all of
this mostly paid for by the innocence project. tony seemed so happy. >> always try to find the good out of every situation. for every person that pointed the finger at me, there's a person that gives me the thumbs up. that's what i focus on. they locked my body. but my mind was always free. >> reporter: but i couldn't help but wonder -- >> how are you not angry? >> if you're angry, you're angry all the time. it will ruin you. it will ruin you. >> reporter: he says it's all about faith, family, and one other thing -- >> sit comfortably. feel your brett coming in and going out -- >> reporter: meditation, which he says he learned behind bars. >> yeah, come on, man. >> reporter: in new york city not long ago, we were right there as tony visited the offices of the people who helped to set him free, the innocence project. at this point, he'd been out for about three weeks and he just learned that one of his lawyer
had helped him land a job at the federal courthouse. >> every day, every day. >> they told you that? >> told me that. >> reporter: he told us he was looking forward to that first day on the job. >> i could just stay here all day just like this. >> reporter: while savoring every moment of his new freedom. >> inside you couldn't do this. you go take a shower with your boots on. and to be outside with your shoes on is -- it's unbelievable, man. >> reporter: after so much time was stolen from him, he says he doesn't have a minute to waste. you can hear much more of my conversation with tony wright about the role of meditation and yoga in his life on the 10% happier podcast available on abcnews.com and on apple podcasts. search for 10% happier. coming up next, how can a billionaire be paying nothing in federal income tax?
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finally, a billionaire real estate mogul playing less in taxes than a middle-class sanitation worker? abc's nick watt in our new series is asking, "watt's up?" >> as a businessman and real estate developer i of halil used the tax laws to my benefit. >> reporter: according to leaks returns in the "times" trump declared a billion-dollar loss in theory could have paid zero in federal taxes for 18 years on a $50 million a year income. >> i have brilliantly used those laws. >> reporter: could i do the same? as a tv reporter in the top 5% offerers who is relosing to release my tax returns? married, two kids. could simboa wright, sanitation worker, married, three kids? >> hi, david, are you are you? >> reporter: firm handshake,
david rae, tax wizard. >> half the american population are not paying any federal income taxes. >> how do they get away with that? >> reporter: including the retired, disabled, very low income, and super-rich. like my trump. >> he didn't pay any federal income tax. >> that major makes me smart. >> zero for troops -- >> what if all of us stopped paying federal tax? >> our defense, gone. who pays the military? our roads, our bridges. >> are the loopholes that he legally uses, are they open to us? >> good question. >> technically they're open to you but wouldn't apply to you. >> real estate business owner -- >> a lot of the loopholes are put there for people making tons of money. >> i want to make sure there's nothing else i can do. >> opening an offshore account in liechtenstein, can you do that? >> you can't, you'll end up in jail. >> other p