Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Live-blogging the vice-presidential debate of 2020

I'll be live-blogging the only debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris.

Keep reloading this post for real-time updates!

Since I'm doing this live, the quotes might not be word for word. I don't have a pause or rewind button. But I'll try to keep it reasonably accurate, and I might make changes later.

My mom, Ann Althouse, is also live-blogging here.

9:09 — The moderator, Susan Page, asks what a Biden administration would do differently than a Trump administration on the coronavirus starting in January. Kamala Harris says we've seen "the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country." "They still don't have a plan. Well, Joe Biden does."

9:12 — Mike Pence emphasizes that Trump responded to the pandemic by banning travel from China, and says Biden called that "xenophobic." Pence says the Biden plan is a lot like what Trump has done: "It looks a little bit like plagiarism — which is something Joe Biden knows something about!"

9:18 — Pence is asked how we can trust them when they violated the rules in the Amy Coney Barrett announcement that seemed to be a "superspreader event." Pence dodges the question, and doesn't even try to justify what they did except misleadingly describing it as an "outdoor" event (not mentioning that they went indoors for part of it). "President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health. Biden talks about mandates."

9:20 — Harris on a future covid-19 vaccine: "If Donald Trump says to take it, I'm not taking it!" The moderator tells Pence not to respond, but he does anyway: "Your continuous undermining of confidence in a vaccine is just unacceptable."

9:23 — Pence doesn't answer a question about Trump's age.

9:24 — Harris is also asked a question about Biden's age, and Harris doesn't answer the question either. She somehow uses it as an opportunity to list her own accomplishments.

9:27 — Pence makes a point of being civil to Kamala Harris: "I want to congratulate you on the historic nature of your nomination."

9:28 — When asked about Biden's transparency, Harris pivots to attacking Trump over the report that he paid $750 in taxes in a recent year. She says that's because Trump is "in debt," and it would be "good to know who the President of the United States owes money to.… What is influencing his decisions?" Pence responds that Trump is "a businessman, a job creator, who's paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes." Pence flatly denies the tax report.

9:31 — Would Biden raise taxes in a way that would hinder our economic recovery? Predictably, Harris says he'll roll back tax cuts for the rich, and "invest it in the American people," including tuition-free public universities for people with income below a certain amount, and some student loan forgiveness.

9:33 — Will an "economic comeback" take a year or more? Pence reminisces about how good the economy was before this year during the Trump administration. 

9:36 — Harris fact-checks Pence: "This is supposed to be a debate based on facts and truth. Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000. Joe Biden will not end fracking." Pence quickly cuts into her answer, and Harris, with a big smile, says: "I'm speaking." While pointing at Pence, Harris warns: "If you have a pre-existing condition — heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer — they're coming for you."

9:39 — On fracking, Pence comes back with: "You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts." Harris mocks the cliche: "Good line!"

9:40 — Has "man-made climate change" made fires and hurricanes worse? Pence: "The climate is changing! But … what's the cause, and what are we going to do about it?" He says Biden is for "the Green New Deal," even though Biden said in the last debate: "The Green New Deal is not my plan." (See the 10:27 update in my last live-blog.) But the moderator says Biden's website calls the Green New Deal "a crucial framework."

9:45 — Pence is asked if climate change is "an existential threat," but he blandly dodges the question, saying only: "The climate is changing. We'll follow the science."

9:47 — Harris to Pence on Trump's "trade war with China": "Ya lost that trade war. Ya lost."

9:50 — The moderator asks Pence how he describes our relationship with China. Pence spends a while not answering the question, but eventually says: "China is to blame for the coronavirus." Pence falsely says Trump "made that decision to suspend all travel with China." No, not "all" — there were exceptions. (See my post from August: "Trump lies.")

9:53 — Harris says Trump has "a weird obsession ... with getting rid of every accomplishment President Obama and Vice President Biden had." She says Trump eliminated things Obama set up to deal with pandemics (I'd have to go back and relisten to get the details), but Pence interjects: "Not true."

9:59 — Pence emphasizes Trump's foreign policy record: "We destroyed the ISIS caliphate." Harris reminds us of the time Trump minimized soldiers' injuries as "headaches." Pence comes back by saying Biden was against President Obama's mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

10:05 — Pence says he hopes Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, gets "a fair hearing" — which he says would be different from what Harris, who's on the Senate Judiciary Committee, did to Brett Kavanaugh. Pence also raises the specter that Barrett will be attacked over her Catholic religion. Harris says that's "insulting" — "Joe Biden and I are both people of faith."

10:08 — Harris is asked what she'd do if Roe v. Wade were overruled. "I will always fight for the right of a woman to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision, not that of Donald Trump and Mike Pence."

10:11 — Pence asks Harris a direct question (which I would've thought would be against the rules): "Are you and Joe Biden going to pack the court if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed?"

10:12 — Harris gives us "a history lesson": Lincoln was president when a Supreme Court vacancy opened up 27 days before Election Day, and he said it was too close to the election to make the decision even though his party also controlled the Senate.

10:16 — Harris on police brutality: "We are never gonna condone violence, but we also must fight for the values we hold dear.… I'm a former prosecutor, I know what I'm talking about: bad cops are bad for good cops."

10:19 — Pence says that Harris and Biden's belief "that America is systematically racist" and "that law enforcement has an implicit bias against minorities … is a great insult" to the police.

10:20 — There's a bug on Pence's hair.

10:21 — The bug just flew off Pence.

10:27 — Harris is asked about the election. Her message: "Please vote!"

10:29 — Pence is asked what he'll do if Trump loses the election but won't accept the outcome. He doesn't answer the question; he says he thinks they will win.

10:32 — The moderator ends by reading a young person's question about how Americans can get along if our leaders can't get along. Pence cites the example of the late Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, who were close friends even though one was "very liberal" and the other was "very conservative." 

10:34 — Harris answers the same question by focusing on Joe Biden's life: "Joe has known pain. He has known suffering. And he has known love.… I do believe the future is bright … because we fight for each person's voice."

That's all. I don't think any big news was made tonight.

Both candidates' spouses go up to them — Harris's husband is wearing a mask, but Pence's wife isn't.

Let's rewatch the most exciting moment of the debate:


Fredrick said...

There's way to much talking over each other, but why on Earth would asking a direct question of your opponent in a debate be forbidden?

John Althouse Cohen said...

I've seen other presidential debates where that was explicitly announced as a rule. I assume the purpose would be to keep the debate relatively orderly, manageable, and fair.

Fredrick said...

That's been the problem with most debates, orderly and fair talking points flying past one another very politely.

Beaver7216 said...

That Harris story about Lincoln not nominating a Supreme Court Justice is bogus. Justice died in early October, 1864 and Lincoln nominated Samuel Chase early December. Chase was confirmed the next day. Presidents are in office until Jan 20th. No need to even nominate prior to an election when you are still in office for 75 days or so.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I don't know about the rules in the 2020 debates, but here are some examples from past presidential debates:

2016: "Will the candidates ask each other direct questions? They are not supposed to…"

2012: "The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates."

2004: "the candidates may not ask each other direct questions, but may ask rhetorical questions."