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Hits and misses from the vice presidential debate

Hits and misses from the vice presidential debate



Kamala Harris smiling for the camera: Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris speaks during the vice presidential campaign debate with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence held on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder


© Brian Snyder/Reuters
Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris speaks during the vice presidential campaign debate with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence held on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The first — and only — vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris is over.

It was a far more civil affair than last week’s debacle between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

I watched, tweeted and took notes. Below, my thoughts on the best and the worst from the night that was.

HITS

* Kamala Harris: The California senator’s best 15 minutes of the debate were the first 15 minutes of the debate. Helped by the focus on Covid-19 — and the Trump administration’s botched handling of the pandemic, Harris crushed Pence with the record of the administration he is a part of. “They knew and they covered it up,” she said of Trump’s admission that he purposely downplayed the severity of the virus. Harris was less strong in defending Biden’s record — in particular Pence’s repeated attacks on Biden’s supposed assertion that he would repeal all of the Trump tax cuts and end fracking. (Harris said Biden would ensure taxes would not go up on anyone making less than $400,000 and insisted, repeatedly, that Biden would not ban fracking.) And her dodge of a question on whether a Biden administration would add seats to the Supreme Court was a miss. Overall, however, I think Harris did what a good VP should do — she slammed Trump, particularly on Covid-19, and kept the focus largely on the current administration. She did so with a calm, cool and collected demeanor; when Pence interrupted, she used silence and a stare —

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