Rabu, 07 Oktober 2020

US Vice-Presidential debate LIVE updates: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence face off weeks before US election - The Sydney Morning Herald


  • US Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris will face off in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the first and only vice presidential debate. The 90-minute showdown will take place under strict coronavirus rules, with candidates 12 feet apart and separated by a plexiglass barrier.
  • Trump’s diagnosis with COVID-19 and the growing cluster at the White House has placed the pandemic front-and-centre of the debate. Other topics to be hotly contested include healthcare, the economy, law and order, and the future of the Supreme Court.
  • Pence and Harris are running mates with two of the oldest men to make a tilt for the White House. Trump is 74 and Biden is 77. This puts a much sharper focus on Pence and Harris’ roles as the second in command.
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Watch live: Harris and Pence face off in VP debate

Kamala Harris and Mike Pence are going head-to-head in the first and only vice-presidential debate.

Latest updates

Harris' performance

Recall that during the Democratic debate, Kamala Harris surprised Biden by criticising his past comments on race.

The emotional pyrotechnics caught the attention of the public and possibly set expectations for more in today's debate.

Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential nominee, speaks.

Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential nominee, speaks.Credit:Bloomberg

But with Biden-Harris leading the polls, Harris would have had little to gain by taking chances in the debate. Still she made her presence felt with Pence.

What the leaders thought

By Farrah Tomazin

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden were pretty pleased with the efforts of their running mates.

Trump, who at the White House recovering from coronavirus, was also fairly confident about who dominated the 90-minute showdown.


So, who won?

By Farrah Tomazin

Pollster Frank Luntz has done a post-debate focus group of 15 undecided voters from key swing states.

“The complaint about Kamala Harris was that she was abrasive and condescending. The complaint about Mike Pence was that he was too tired, but was vice presidential,” he told Fox News.

“If this is a battle over style and substance, which is often the case with undecided voters - because they simply do not choose on policy; they also choose on persona - this was Mike Pence's night.”

"They thought that that Kamala made a greater effort to take down Donald Trump and the Trump/Pence administration, whereas Mike Pence did a better job in explaining what the Trump/Pence administration had done."

George Floyd and race

By Nick O'Malley

Harris sought to remind voters that the cause of civil strife that has torn through American cities all year was brutal police killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd.

A mural depicting George Floyd in the Watts neighbourhood of Los Angeles.

A mural depicting George Floyd in the Watts neighbourhood of Los Angeles.Credit:AP

Pence was of the view that Democrats may lose votes in the suburbs of people who fear ongoing violence and who trust Republicans more on law and order issues.

But Pence’s answer also revealed the culture war lines on these issues, as he said time and again that the justice system has not failed along racist lines and that he and Donald Trump stood by law enforcement officers.

Oddly, Harris herself is mistrusted by elements of the left for her history as a tough prosecutor. This could be why she reminded people of Trump’s failures to condemn white supremacists.

The fly on Pence

By Chris Zappone

Lots of commentary on the fly that menaced Pence during the debate.

A politicised fly...

And the Biden campaign looks to convert it into a fundraising opportunity.

'If our leaders can't get along, how can our citizens?'

By Farrah Tomazin

We’ve just discussed the all important issue of election integrity.

Trump has been railing against mail-in voting for months, and both sides have used the opportunity to call on Americans to vote like their lives depend on it.

The final question however, isn’t one from moderator Susan Page, it’s from an eighth grader at Springville junior high in Utah.

She wrote: "When I watch the news, all I see is arguing between Democrats and Republicans; when I watch the news, all I see is citizen fight against citizen; when I watch the news, all I see are two candidates from opposing parties, trying to tear each other down. If our leaders can't get along how are the citizens supposed to get along?”

It’s a very fine question.

Pence answers by saying that despite his disagreements with Harris, “when the debate is over, we come together as Americans. That's what people do in big cities and small towns across this country so I just want to encourage you, and I want to tell you that we're going to work every day to have government as good as our people.”

Harris responds to the student by saying: “I do believe the future is bright and it will be because of your leadership, and it will be because we fight for each person's voice - through their vote.”

With that, the debate ends and the two candidates leave the stage.


Pence's strategy

By Chris Zappone

Vice-President Pence rebutted Senator Harris' attacks by undermining the credibility of her statements. While not as fancifully 'post-truth' as Donald Trump in his approach, Pence has already made claims that don't exactly match with reality.

Vice President Mike Pence looks through the plexiglass barrier while he answers a question during the vice-presidential debate.

Vice President Mike Pence looks through the plexiglass barrier while he answers a question during the vice-presidential debate.Credit:AP

After Harris was asked if she would trust a Trump administration-era vaccine, she said she would if the doctors expressed confidence. Pence later charged her with undermining public faith in a vaccine.

The overall tone of the debate remains much more dignified then the previous Trump-Biden debate.

What if Trump refuses to accept the result?

By Nick O'Malley

It is staggering that in a 2020 debate in the United States, it is reasonable to ask candidates what they would do should Donald Trump refuse to acknowledge the result of a legitimate election and accept a peaceful transfer of power. Harris uses the question to call for people to get out and vote.
Pence simply responds that he believes Trump will be re-elected on the back of a movement of “everyday Americans” and assert that the Democratic Party has refused to accept the result of the last.
It is significant that he did not state that the Trump campaign will accept a loss and ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

Pence hitting all the talking points

By Chris Zappone

Pence is hitting the right notes to emphasise the Republican talking points around Harris - sowing doubts about her and Joe Biden, Pence testifies to his faith in the president and the people and he maintains an evangelical Christian outlook.

Hitting all the right themes for the Trump campaign's talking points, Vice-President Mike Pence answers a question during the debate.

Hitting all the right themes for the Trump campaign's talking points, Vice-President Mike Pence answers a question during the debate.Credit:AP

Harris looks alive on the issue of racial justice and the scope of the work that needs to be done to heal wounds in the US. She has also taken aim at the Trump administration's handling of the pandemic.

White supremacy rears its ugly head

By Farrah Tomazin

Harris returns to an issue that caused Trump a bit of grief during the debate last week, when he failed to denonce white supremacy.

“When pressed he said ‘stand back and stand by” - and this is a part of a pattern of Donald Trump's," says Harris. "He clearly called Mexicans rapists and criminals, and instituted as his first act, a Muslim ban."

Pence, in turn, rejects this and accuses the media and Harris of distorting the facts.

Trump did in fact end up denouncing white supremacy - after the debate.

While it hasn’t received much coverage, Trump walked back his comments last week and the administration is spruiking plans to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan as "domestic terrorists" and to make lynching a federal hate crime.

You can read more about this here.

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2020-10-08 03:05:00Z

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