Wednesday evening’s matchup between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Senator Kamala Harris opened with out the fireworks that marred final week’s chaotic debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
However Trump’s COVID-19 an infection, and his and Biden’s superior age, made it maybe probably the most consequential US vice presidential debate in dwelling reminiscence.
Listed here are a number of standout moments from the talk:
PACKING THE COURT?
Annoyed that Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate could quickly cement a 6-Three conservative majority on the Supreme Courtroom, some on the left have known as on Biden to develop the nine-member courtroom to 11 or 13 seats. Harris declined to say whether or not she supported that concept.
Looking for to push that concept, Pence posed questions on Biden’s and Harris’ plans, which he additionally answered for her: “The straight reply is they’ll pack the Supreme Courtroom in the event that they someway win this election.”
POLICY TO THE FORE
The comparatively sedate ambiance allowed stark coverage variations to come back to the fore.
On world warming, for instance, Pence declined to say that it was brought on by human exercise – the overwhelming scientific consensus – and mentioned Biden’s proposed fixes could be too costly.
He additionally inaccurately mentioned that Biden would ban hydraulic fracturing. Biden, in actual fact, has mentioned repeatedly he wouldn’t pursue a fracking ban, though he would oppose new permits for drilling on federal land. It’s a key subject in electoral backgrounds like western Pennsylvania and japanese Ohio, the place the method has led to a increase in power manufacturing over the previous decade.
A FLY IN THE OINTMENT
Pence’s left eye was noticeably bloodshot for a lot of the talk. Greater than an hour in, a black housefly sat for a number of minutes on Pence’s white hair, hanging on as he shook his head and parried with Harris over race and felony justice. The hashtag #fly2024 surfaced on Twitter.
“Three debaters are actually on the stage: Harris, Pence, and a really political fly that has nested within the Veep’s head,” Larry Sabato, director of the College of Virginia’s Heart for Politics, wrote on Twitter.
COLORING INSIDE THE LINES
Following final week’s chaotic, insult-laden debate between Biden and Trump, moderator Susan Web page warned each candidates that she would strictly implement guidelines designed to make sure decorum. “We wish a debate that’s energetic. However People additionally deserve a dialogue that’s civil,” she mentioned.
Pence opened by saying it was a “privilege” to be on stage with Harris – even after she mentioned the administration’s coronavirus response was “the best failure of any presidential administration within the historical past of our nation.”
Issues finally heated up, however solely to a simmer, not a boil. Pence repeatedly interrupted Harris and the moderator, leaving Harris to plead: “Mr. Vice President, I am talking.”
SPEAK NOT OF THE AGED
In 2008, when he was Barack Obama’s operating mate, Biden mentioned that “nobody decides who they are going to vote for primarily based on the vp.” But this debate has outsized significance.
Biden, 77, could be the oldest president in US historical past if he had been to win the election, and he has hinted he may solely serve one time period.
Trump, solely barely youthful at 74, spent the weekend at a army hospital exterior Washington after contracting the novel coronavirus.
From purely an actuarial standpoint, Pence, 61, and Harris, 55, could be extra more likely to step into the presidency than different vice presidential candidates.
Pence additionally carries a further burden as he has been tasked with campaigning for the ticket as Trump has been sidelined due to his COVID-19 an infection.
But each candidates prevented the subject.
When requested whether or not they had a agency plan of succession in place, Pence used his time to speak about vaccines, whereas Harris talked up her biography as a toddler of immigrants who went on to function California lawyer common.
Likewise, neither answered instantly when requested why their aged operating mates had not launched detailed well being data. Pence thanked those that had wished for Trump’s restoration, whereas Harris criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns.
DINGING BIDEN ON PLAGIARISM
Candidates usually present up with a quiver of ready one-liners, and Pence loosed one early.
He accused Biden of copying the Trump administration’s plan to combat the coronavirus, dredging up fees of plagiarism that helped sink Biden’s first presidential run in 1988.
“It seems to be just a little bit like plagiarism, which is one thing Joe Biden is aware of just a little bit about,” he mentioned.
(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)