The historic vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris has wrapped up with contentious exchanges over the coronavirus response, the environment, Trump’s taxes, the economy, and foreign policy.
Pence repeatedly went over his allotted time and interrupted Harris on multiple occasions, leading the senator to reprimand him with the words: “Mr Vice President, I am speaking.”
Pence accused Harris of undermining confidence in a Trump coronavirus vaccine, while Harris demanded to know to whom Trump owes money.
Twitter meanwhile was particularly distracted by a large fly that landed on Pence’s head and appeared to stay there for about a minute. There is also speculation that the vice president might be suffering from pink eye.
The VP nominees were face-to-face for the first time in Salt Lake City in what was billed as the most anticipated clash between two running mates in recent memory.
The debate was given approval to go ahead after both candidates returned negative coronavirus tests on Wednesday, and the CDC said Pence was not a "close contact" of Donald Trump.
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the vice presidential debate between Democratic senator Kamala Harris and US vice president Mike Pence taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah.
VP candidates due to meet in Utah tonight for highly-anticipated debate
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and US vice president Mike Pence are due to come face-to-face for the first time on the debate stage in Salt Lake City tonight in what is being billed as the most anticipated clash between two running mates in recent memory.
The duo will take to the podiums at the University of Utah at a time when the coronavirus is raging through Donald Trump’s White House with just 27 days until the 3 November election, prompting major concerns about the president’s own well-being and casting further light on his handling of the pandemic, which has killed over 211,000 Americans from 7.5m cases.
As a precaution, the candidates will debate each other from behind a plexiglas screen in an attempt to avoid the further spread of the contagion - although both participants have so far tested negative consistently.
Here’s Beth Boyle with everything you need to know.
The Vice President and the Senator to face each other in Utah
Five questions as Kamala Harris and Mike Pence prepare for debate face-off
How can Pence defend Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 disaster and will Harris energise Joe Biden’s campaign as she makes history by becoming the first African American woman and first woman of Asian descent to take the stage?
These are the key questions to consider ahead of tonight’s bout.
Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris meet on the debate stage for the first and only time Wednesday night in Utah
What to expect from the debate, according to people who know the participants well
For Indy Voices, DC insider Andrew Feinberg brings us the skinny on the candidates.
‘By his own admission, Pence has certain ways that he deals with women. And those will undoubtedly affect his attitude towards debating a woman’
Meet Susan Page, tonight’s moderator
The USA Today journalist will oversee this evening’s Harris-Pence encounter and, let’s face it, can’t do worse than Chris Wallace when it comes to keeping order.
Beth Boyle profiles her here.
Susan Page of USA Today to host Mike Pence-Kamala Harris VP debate
Joe Biden says no second debate between him and Trump if medical experts advise against it
The Democratic nominee said yesterday that he and Trump "shouldn't have a debate" as long as the president remains positive for coronavirus.
Biden said he is "looking forward to being able to debate him" but "we're going to have to follow very strict guidelines".
Speaking to reporters while boarding a plane home to Delaware, Biden said: "I think if he still has Covid, then we shouldn't have a debate."
The next debate is scheduled for 15 October 15, with a third due to take place on 22 October.
Biden's campaign says he tested negative for Covid-19 earlier on Tuesday.
Democrat said ‘too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem,’ ahead of debate next week
Kamala Harris: How the former prosecutor who skewered Biden in the debates built her career on being first
Let’s profile the two candidates.
First up, here’s Danielle Zoellner on the California senator and former state attorney general who scored a big hit on Joe during her own run for office before accepting his offer to be his running mate.
According to an unnamed aide quoted by The Daily Beast, Harris is likely to go after Pence over the administration’s disastrous coronavirus response, with Pence himself nominally the head of the task force but seemingly as reluctant to wear a mask as Trump and largely a bystander as the president has sidelined the experts in favour of his political agenda.
“It’s obviously not a centerpiece - hello, Covid - but pointing out that the vice president is a homophobic Waylon Smithers is clearly a winning line,” says the staffer.
What a line that is.
California senator is the first woman of colour to run as vice president on a major political party's ticket
Mike Pence: The VP who is ‘inseparable’ from his wife, has a ‘socially liberal' daughter and a famous rabbit
Next, here’s a look at Trump’s right-hand man, the devout Christian who has frequently found himself compromised by the president’s boorish behaviour and who questions of his own to answer about his tenure as Indiana’s governor.
Mike Pence’s family: VP is ‘inseparable’ from his wife, has a ‘socially liberal' daughter and a famous rabbit
Mike and Karen Pence have spoken with pride of their three children - Michael, Charlotte and Audrey
Kamala Harris faces sexism and racism at VP debate, experts warn
Dr Lori Cox Han, professor of political science at Chapman University, says audiences will expect more - and tolerate less - from Harris than they would from most male candidates simply because she's a woman.
"Can you imagine a woman on a debate stage behaving like Trump or Biden on Tuesday?" Dr Han asked. "There would have been a totally different reaction because there's a totally different standard. Even though when women see Harris get angry they say 'yeah we've always wanted to say that too,' some people will view her aggression as not being feminine."
Graig Graziosi has more.
Ms Harris is the third woman to participate in the US vice presidential debates and the first woman of colour
Mike Pence’s most controversial comments about women
Speaking of sexism, the vice president has said more than his fair share of iffy things about the opposite sex, disapproving of women serving in the military for instance.
Most famously, regarding dining with his wife Karen, Pence said: "If there's alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me. It's about building a zone around your marriage."
Mr Pence has a long history of making eyebrow-raising comments about women
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