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Vice President Mike Pence dominated Sen. Kamala Harris in the first and only veep debate Wednesday night. And he did so quietly, calmly, and methodically.
As expected, this was more subdued than the first presidential debate. USA Today’s Susan Page moderated the University of Utah event in Salt Lake City. Nearly all of Page’s questions came from the left but she didn’t rush to make herself the story, a la Chris Wallace.
The Vice President remained zenlike for 90 minutes straight, complimenting Harris while politely sliding in a shiv. He congratulated Harris for her “historic nomination” then asked why she voted for the Green New Deal. He highlighted her prosecutorial record but was curious why she indicted so many more blacks than whites.
A masterful performance, from start to finish.
Harris repeatedly attempted a “you go, girl” moment — like when she portrayed then-opponent Biden as a racist for rejecting busing — but consistently failed. Feigning high dudgeon doesn’t work when your adversary is so gosh-darned polite.
The California senator opened by calling the White House’s Coronavirus response “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.” Her answers didn’t get better from there.
Pence praised the anti-pandemic effort, noting how Joe Biden ridiculed Trump’s closing of travel from China. Pence said the rest of Biden’s plan was plagiarized from Trump.
Harris insisted that she wouldn’t take a Trump-endorsed COVID vaccine. “If Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not taking it,” she said.
“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think, is unconscionable,” Pence replied. “Stop playing politics with people’s lives.”
Other questions addressed economic recovery, climate change, the Supreme Court, and foreign relations.
Harris claimed Trump had “betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world.” Pence blasted the Iran Deal, then noted that “when Joe Biden was vice president, he had an opportunity to save Kayla Mueller,” he said. “It breaks my heart to reflect on it.”
Pence’s guests included the parents of Kayla Mueller, who was murdered by ISIS in February 2015.
As for meaningless moments on which the press loves to fixate, a fly landed on Pence’s head for about a minute. Blue-check journos on Twitter couldn’t stop talking about it.
Perhaps they’ll try to sell the fly as Pence’s “binders full of women” moment. They certainly can’t point to anything Harris did.Published in