NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

Liveblogging the vice presidential debate of 2020 from the great Pacific Northwest

Good evening, and wel­come to NPI’s live cov­er­age of the 2020 vice pres­i­den­tial debate. NPI staff will be watch­ing and shar­ing impres­sions of the debate between Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Kamala Har­ris and Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Mike Pence as it pro­gress­es. The debate, spon­sored by the Com­mis­sion on Pres­i­den­tial Debates, is being broad­cast on all major net­works as well as online platforms.

We high­ly rec­om­mend C‑SPAN if you’re livestream­ing the debate as opposed to watch­ing it on a cable or broad­cast tele­vi­sion net­work.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Utah in Salt Lake City is host­ing the debate, which will be mod­er­at­ed by USA Today’s Susan Page. The for­mat is as follows:

The debate will be divid­ed into nine seg­ments of approx­i­mate­ly 10 min­utes each. The mod­er­a­tor will ask an open­ing ques­tion, after which each can­di­date will have two min­utes to respond. The mod­er­a­tor will use the bal­ance of the time in the seg­ment for a deep­er dis­cus­sion of the topic.

“Page, six­ty-nine, became a White House cor­re­spon­dent for USA Today in 1995 and has inter­viewed nine pres­i­dents, six of them while they were in office. She is the first print reporter select­ed by the Com­mis­sion on Pres­i­den­tial Debates as a solo mod­er­a­tor,” USA Today explained ear­li­er this week.

Page has not announced which top­ics she will be ask­ing about tonight.

New COVID-19 pre­cau­tions have been imple­ment­ed for tonight. The can­di­dates will be seat­ed twelve feet apart and sep­a­rat­ed by plex­i­glass bar­ri­ers. Addi­tion­al­ly, masks are required to be worn by all audi­ence members.

The debate will begin at 6 PM Pacif­ic and run for about nine­ty min­utes. The can­di­dates will be seat­ed at sep­a­rate desks, while Page will be seat­ed in front of them at the mod­er­a­tor’s table. In keep­ing with tra­di­tion for gen­er­al elec­tion pres­i­den­tial debates, there will be no com­mer­cial breaks or interruptions.

Our live cov­er­age will begin below at the time the debate starts.

6:10 – It’s only nat­ur­al that the debate starts with the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Kamala Har­ris took a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­trast a Trump’s response to what Biden would do. “They knew what was hap­pen­ing, but they did­n’t tell you…they still don’t have a plan. Well, Joe Biden does.”

6:10 – The fact that Pence sup­pos­ed­ly heads the White House­’s COVID tadk force is a tru­ly black mark on his per­son­al record. His claim that “Don­ald Trump has put the health of Amer­i­ca first.” He imme­di­ate­ly launch­es into lies about Trump’s Chi­na response (Trump did not ban all trav­el from China).

6:13  – Kamala Har­ris demol­ish­es Pence’s argu­ment that the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s response was to keep peo­ple calm. Pence’s efforts to turn the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s response into “the Amer­i­can peo­ple’s response” is laugh­able. A huge major­i­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple think Trump has bun­gled the COVID response.

6:16 – Pence has con­fi­dence in the Amer­i­can peo­ple’s abil­i­ty to fol­low COVID guide­lines, but does­n’t want to talk about his boss’ abil­i­ty to fol­low the rules.

6:17 – Kamala’s come­back to Pence’s line about respect­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple – “You respect the Amer­i­can peo­ple by telling them the truth” – is fol­lowed by a pow­er­ful lay­ing out of the state of many suf­fer­ing Americans.

6:20 – Instead of talk­ing about Trump’s age and abil­i­ty (a sub­ject that could get him in hot water with his boss), Pence waf­fles about a 2009 Swine Flu out­break that nobody remembers.

6:24 – It is wild that the year is 2020, Kamala Har­ris is still only the sec­ond black woman to sit in the U.S. Senate.

6:28 – Pence says that “I know the feel­ing” that Kamala Har­ris feels about her nom­i­na­tion. How could he pos­si­bly know the weight of his­to­ry that rests on Har­ris’ shoul­ders as the first woman of col­or to occu­py the vice pres­i­den­tial nominee?

6:30 – Mike Pence’s smug grin when the issue of “rais­ing tax­es” came up shows how out of touch he is on the issue of the eco­nom­ic dis­as­ter crash­ing through the lives of most Amer­i­cans. Har­ris takes the oppor­tu­ni­ty to tie the Biden team’s invest­ment plans direct­ly to repeal­ing Trump’s tax cuts for the rich.

6:34 – Har­ris pret­ty much demol­ish­es four years of Trump’s eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy in a few sen­tences and promis­es invest­ment mea­sures that are incred­i­bly pop­u­lar across the board. By con­trast, Pence’s Repub­li­can talk­ing points on tax­es and trade haven’t changed in a decade.

6:35 – Kamala Har­ris is hap­py to sit back and let Mike Pence mansplain to her – she’s prob­a­bly imag­in­ing mil­lions of female vot­ers turn­ing away from Pence in disgust.

6:38 – Har­ris makes a dire warn­ing: “If you have a pre-exist­ing condition…they’re com­ing for you!” Pence’s talk­ing points by con­trast sound incred­i­bly canned.

6:40 – Pence says “we’re going to con­tin­ue to lis­ten to the sci­ence,” with­out say­ing what the sci­ence actu­al­ly says about cli­mate change’s caus­es. He does throw in a line about “cli­mate alarmists,” though, in case you though he was tak­ing cli­mate sci­ence seriously.

6:42 – The mod­er­a­tor press­es Pence on his refusal to treat cli­mate change as a threat. Instead, he piv­ots to talk­ing about taxes!

6:47 – Har­ris slams the Trump-Chi­na trade war: “You lost that trade war, you lost it!” Har­ris obvi­ous­ly has her pre-made attack lines, but they sound much more nat­ur­al than Pence’s “tax­es, tax­es, Green New tax­es,” droning.

6:48 – Pence seems very deter­mined to keep bring­ing up cli­mate change, even though most Amer­i­cans sup­port a stronger response to cli­mate change than Trump and Pence are offering.

6:54 – Har­ris seems to have worked out where the cam­era is, and is lean­ing heav­i­ly into Joe Biden’s tech­nique of star­ing direct­ly at the view­ers. Pence does­n’t seem to want to look the Amer­i­can peo­ple in the eye…

7:00 – The mod­er­a­tor seems com­plete­ly unable to stop Pence’s dron­ing away, bla­tant­ly politi­ciz­ing the death of Kay­la Mueller. Har­ris lets him go on before bring­ing some gen­uine emo­tion to the stage, call­ing out to the par­ents of Mueller to express her grief. She then goes on the warpath against Trump’s dis­dain for Amer­i­can troops and veterans.

7:01 – Nobody in their right mind believes that “Don­ald Trump REVERES” mil­i­tary mem­bers, but Pence goes and says it anyway.

7:05 – Pence, deputy to the elite-bash­ing Pres­i­dent Trump, seems to think that his best shot is stand­ing up for the not at all elite-sound­ing “Knights of Columbus.”

7:07 – Har­ris brings up arguably the most impor­tant issue hang­ing over the Supreme Court bat­tle – the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s legal cam­paign against the ACA.

7:08 – Sur­prised to hear that Mike Pence does­n’t know how Amy Coney Bar­rett would rule on abortion.

7:10 – Pence talk­ing about chang­ing the rules for the Supreme Court is tru­ly, tru­ly rich.

7:16 – Har­ris pulls no punch­es describ­ing the death of George Floyd: “An Amer­i­can man was tor­tured and killed…” Har­ris effec­tive­ly links the move­ment for black lives with her own pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al expe­ri­ence to launch into the Biden cam­paign’s racial platform.

7:17 – Pence is giv­ing dag­ger eyes to Kamala Har­ris as he talks about “riot­ers and loot­ers,” as if Har­ris was some­how per­son­al­ly respon­si­ble. It makes you won­der what he real­ly sees when he looks at Har­ris, a woman of color.

7:20 – Kamala Har­ris is not tak­ing Pence’s attempts to come off as the tough on crime, tout­ing her pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al record. She slips smooth­ly into Don­ald Trump’s cod­dling of Nazis and white suprema­cists: “Amer­i­ca, you deserve better!”

7:23 – Har­ris not only defends her record as Cal­i­for­nia AG, but calls it a mod­el for the rest of the country!

7:25 – It’s an inter­est­ing approach to ask Kamala Har­ris, “what if you win, but Trump does some­thing insane?” As if it’s some­how the Biden cam­paign’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to stop Trump doing some kind of coup!

7:32 – When faced with an eighth grader’s ques­tion, Pence slipped from an incred­i­bly patron­iz­ing tone into a series of canned talk­ing points. By con­trast, Har­ris speaks with respect for the eighth-grad­er and her ques­tion, look­ing direct­ly into the cam­era. She goes on to promise Brek­lyn a bright future, address­ing her as a future leader.

7:34 – At the end of the debate, Kamala Har­ris’ hus­band wears a mask. Mike Pence’s wife, unsur­pris­ing­ly, does not.

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