In a much more civil affair than the previous presidential debate, the first and only vice presidential debate concluded at the University of Utah on Oct. 7 at 8:30 p.m.
With Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today, moderating, the two vice presidential candidates — Democratic Nominee Senator Kamala Harris and sitting Vice President Mike Pence — went toe to toe with each other throughout the 90 minute debate.
Page began the debate by saying, “We can and will have a respectful debate.”
Throughout the debate, according to CBS News, Pence interrupted Harris 10 times to Harris’s five interruptions.
When Harris was first interrupted, she said, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”
The most common topic of the night was the current administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rose Garden event and President Donald Trump’s own illness were brought up. Harris addressed her concern with the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, and Pence brought up his hope that the American people would be able to utilize the information given to them to stay safe.
Now with 39 states reporting an increase of cases and 9 states having surpassed previous record highs, as reported by John Hopkins, COVID-19 was consistently addressed throughout the other issues.
Both healthcare and the presidential candidates’ advanced ages came up during the topic of COVID-19. Neither vice presidential candidate had a firm answer for how the presidency would continue if presidential disability occurred while either President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden were in office.
The ongoing supreme court battle over the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, led to the topic of removing protections for preexisting conditions and healthcare for people in the middle of a pandemic. Pence refuted that Trump or he were planning to take protections for Americans with preexisting conditions away.
The third biggest topic was the economy where taxes played a rampant role in the argument. Biden plans to repeal the tax bill that Trump introduced, which Pence claims that it will bury the economy. Pence also claimed that Biden would ban all fracking, and it would cause an economic uproar.
The topic of racial injustice and police bias toward those of color heated the debate when Pence attacked Harris’s opinion that the grand jury convened in the case of Breonna Taylor was wrong. Pence said claiming police were biased was an insult to law enforcement.
“Bad cops are bad for good cops,” Harris said.
The last question of the evening was from an eighth-grade student and was selected by the Utah Debate Commission to be read. She wrote that when she watches the news, all she sees is fighting.
Harris spoke about Biden’s values and how the divisions and upset of the country were deeply troubling. Pence criticized the media and mentioned the relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Scalia before their deaths in 2020 and 2016, respectively.