Vice President Mike Pence speaks through the vice presidential debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

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Vice President Mike Pence speaks through the vice presidential debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

Eric Baradat/AFP by way of Getty Images

After a raucous debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden final month that was marked by fixed interruptions, title-calling and a moderator unable to regulate the dialogue, Wednesday evening’s vice presidential debate marked a return to a extra conventional affair.

It’s unclear if will probably be the final debate of the 2020 presidential marketing campaign. Trump is recovering on the White House and sidelined — not less than for the second — from the marketing campaign path after being hospitalized for COVID-19. The president mentioned he plans to journey to Miami for the deliberate townhall-fashion debate subsequent Thursday, and Biden mentioned he’s additionally planning to take part — however provided that the president is not ailing.

While most voters do not base their resolution on the vice presidential candidates, 2020’s contest is presumably totally different. Biden is 77, and has introduced himself as a “transitional” determine to the Democratic Party’s subsequent era. And the president is 74 and battling a critical sickness.

The vice presidential debate wasn’t prone to change many citizens’ minds or shift the trajectory of the race, however it confirmed sharp contrasts between the 2 events’ agendas for the financial system, well being care and extra. Here are 4 takeaways from the vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:

1. The 2020 election nonetheless hinges on the coronavirus.

From the outset of the controversy the pandemic was middle stage. Spectators have been warned to not take away their masks. The candidates sat at desks greater than 12 ft aside and separated by plexiglass shields. It was additionally the primary subject.

Harris was aggressive — seizing on the Democratic ticket’s central argument, that the Trump administration’s dealing with of the novel coronavirus was “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.” She accused the president of masking up details about the virus when he was briefed in January by his nationwide safety staff, and argued Trump nonetheless did not have a plan to fight the illness.

Pence defended the president’s document and pointed to Trump’s resolution to limit journey from China on the finish of January as proof he took the menace significantly. He famous that the Biden-Harris staff’s plan to handle the coronavirus with testing and the event of a vaccine mirrored actions the administration has already taken. “It appears just a little bit like plagiarism,” Pence mentioned.

He additionally tried to painting Harris’ criticism of the administration’s response as an assault on the sacrifices Americans have made through the disaster, a solution that appeared to fall flat.

Throughout the controversy, whether or not the query was in regards to the financial system or well being care, Harris returned to the administration’s response to the pandemic.

Pence in flip touted what he known as document-setting progress on growing a vaccine and pledged, because the president has earlier than, that thousands and thousands of doses can be out there by the top of the yr.

Harris mentioned she would take a vaccine authorized by medical professionals, but “if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Pence mentioned Harris was looking for to “undermine public confidence” within the effort to develop and approve a vaccine. “Stop playing politics with people’s lives,” he mentioned.

2. There was an precise debate this time, however not essentially solutions to the moderator’s questions.

There was far much less interrupting, offended cross-speak and fewer private assaults than within the presidential debate. Moderator Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of USA Today, known as for a “respectful exchange” and usually reminded the candidates solutions ought to be “uninterrupted.”

Pence and Harris did not all the time comply. And Harris pushed again, calling out Pence when he began to step on her solutions or take away from her time. She scolded him with, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking.” – making it clear she wasn’t going to let a male debating opponent get away with any intimidation techniques.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks throughout Wednesday’s debate with Vice President Mike Pence.

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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks throughout Wednesday’s debate with Vice President Mike Pence.

Robyn Beck/AFP by way of Getty Images

Both candidates steadily sidestepped questions altogether. The moderator selected to maneuver on to new subjects somewhat than pose observe-up questions, which was a misplaced alternative on some key points that might have made information or not less than educated voters in regards to the candidates’ positions. Both ignored a key question that may very well be high of thoughts with Biden’s age and the president’s sickness — what would you do if the president grew to become incapacitated?

Pence did not reply how a Trump-Pence administration would protect preexisting conditions if the Affordable Care Act is struck down by the Supreme Court. He additionally did not clarify what he would do if the president did not settle for the election outcomes or comply with a peaceable transition of energy.

Harris refused to reply a query posed by each the moderator and once more by Pence whether or not she backed what many liberal activists are pushing: including justices to the Supreme Court — court packing. Biden dodged the identical query within the first debate.

And each additionally evaded a query about what they thought states ought to do if the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, which would go away the states to jot down abortion legal guidelines.

3. Candidates’ methods mirrored the state of the marketing campaign — Pence attacked Biden-Harris as excessive; Harris pivoted to Trump’s document on the coronavirus.

Pence’s debate fashion is sort of polar reverse of the president’s. He was calm and disciplined, and got here ready to color the Biden-Harris ticket as captive to the intense left of the Democratic Party, particularly on financial points.

The financial system has persistently been the GOP ticket’s strongest challenge with voters, however that energy has declined because the nation struggles with job losses and enterprise closures. The vice chairman cited an analysis that Harris in 2019 was the U.S. Senate’s most liberal member, and he repeatedly linked the Democratic ticket with the Green New Deal, a proposal pushed by progressives in Congress to remake the financial system with a brand new power infrastructure. Although Harris backed the proposal previous to her nomination, Biden has not.

Pence additionally asserted that Biden’s vow to roll again the president’s 2017 tax cuts would translate into tax will increase on Americans as quickly as they took workplace, although actually that may take an act of Congress.

Harris appeared within the crowded Democratic main debates, however she has had much less expertise on the controversy stage one-on-one. She leaned on her expertise as a prosecutor and got here with a mission to hammer the case towards Trump’s dealing with of the pandemic and the fallout for the financial system. She made Pence Trump’s stand-in on the topic.

In a number of exchanges Harris sidestepped straight answering questions from the moderator and as an alternative shifted the dialog to Trump. She used a query in regards to the Breonna Taylor case in Kentucky to remind the viewers of 1 beautiful second within the Biden-Trump debate, when the president declined to denounce white supremacists.

4. A fly generated essentially the most buzz.

A fly lands on Vice President Mike Pence’s head through the debate.

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A fly lands on Vice President Mike Pence’s head through the debate.

Eric Baradat/AFP by way of Getty Images

The debate did not generate a lot information or many knock-out traces, so when a fly landed and remained on the vice chairman’s head for over two minutes folks have been transfixed and lots of took to social media, unable to withstand weighing in with jokes. Enormous consideration was given to well being precautions, air flow programs and testing of attendees on the debate website. But the looks of 1 insect was a state of affairs nobody ready for, and it was exhausting to disregard.

Shortly after the controversy ended the Biden marketing campaign posted an advert for a branded fly swatter.



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