USA Elections: Kamala Harris v Mike Pence: Five takeaways from Vice-President debate – BBC News

Dodging questions and interruptions: While the VP debate was more civil, there were still moments of tension

Vice-presidential debates seldom shake up presidential races, and the face-off between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence on Wednesday night seems destined to be no different.

Both candidates had strong moments, and a few stumbles, over the course of the 90-minute affair. But as far as lasting memories go, they were few and far between.         

If this was a match that showcased the futures of the Democratic and Republican parties, the real fireworks will have to wait for the coming years.

An unmemorable result, in and of itself, is good news for the Democrats and Joe Biden, who polls suggest are leading in the race. One more campaign set-piece in the books, and one step closer to election day. These are my takeaways from the debate.

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USA Elections: VP debate: Did gender play a role in the interruptions? – BBC News

By Helier Cheung – BBC News  October 8, 2020 – US election 2020 

Pence- Harris Vice President Debate

Dodging questions and interruptions: While the VP debate was more civil, there were still moments of tension

Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate was widely seen as civil, but with few memorable moments.

Yet one exchange that resonated strongly with many viewers – especially women – was when Kamala Harris responded to Mike Pence interrupting her by smiling and saying: “Mr Vice-President, I’m speaking… If you don’t mind letting me finish, then we can have a conversation.”

In fact, Ms Harris responded to an interruption with the phrase “I’m speaking” on three occasions.

Many considered these to be poignant moments that chimed with their own experiences of seeing women struggling for air time, or being interrupted by men in work situations.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On October 9, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Kamala Harris Walked a Tightrope, But Still Wiped the Floor with Mike Pence

    Jill Filipovic | The Guardian UK

    THERE WAS NO REAL CONTEST IN THE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE BETWEEN KAMALA HARRIS AND MIKE PENCE.

    Harris wiped the floor with him. Pence ignored, patronized and talked over the two women in the room. HER STRATEGY WAS COOL COMPETENCE. HIS WAS SEXIST ENTITLEMENT.

    THIS DEBATE WAS LESS HIGH-PITCH WITHOUT DONALD TRUMP RANTING AND RAVING ON STAGE. But it was frustrating in its own way – especially for any woman who has ever been in a room with an interjecting, condescending man.

    Pence repeatedly interrupted Harris, something she rarely did to him; he repeatedly talked over moderator Susan Page of USA Today when she told him his time was up; he repeatedly flouted the rules he had previously agreed to.

    THE DISRESPECT OF WOMEN WAS TANGIBLE, AND IT HAPPENED OVER AND OVER.

    HARRIS HAD NO SUCH LEEWAY TO BULLDOZE EITHER HER OPPONENT OR THE MODERATOR. As a black woman on the national stage, she knew she had to walk a thread-thin line:

    BE LIKABLE, BUT AUTHORITATIVE; STRONG, BUT NOT “AGGRESSIVE”. INTERRUPTING PENCE OR EVEN PAGE POSED SERIOUS – AND SEXIST – CONSEQUENCES WITH AN ELECTORATE THAT HAS NEVER SEEN A WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    But for better or worse, Harris is used to the Trump circus, and so she walked that tightrope deftly. She was tough, assertive, funny and charming, while Pence was patronizing and stiff.

    STILL, THEIR INTERACTIONS WERE ENRAGING TO WATCH – AND FAMILIAR.

    If Pence and Trump want to win women, it was a bad showing for the vice-president. Already, Trump faces the largest gender gap since pollsters began recording the gender gap, with women overwhelmingly throwing their weight behind Joe Biden and Harris. Black women continue to be the steadiest Democratic voters out there.

    FOR ALL OF THE TALK OF TRUMP DOING BETTER WITH HISPANICS – HE’S ACTUALLY DOING BETTER THAN HE DID IN 2016 WITH HISPANIC MEN – HISPANIC WOMEN ARE OVERWHELMINGLY FOR BIDEN.

    And Trump has lost significant ground with white women. College-educated white women support Biden by huge margins, but Trump is also down among the working-class white women who, in 2016, were his strongest female supporters.

    OF COURSE, PENCE WAS ON THE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL TICKET IN 2016, TOO, AND WOMEN ALSO KNOW, VISCERALLY, WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE IN A ROOM WITH A MAN LIKE DONALD TRUMP.

    And while Hillary Clinton won women handily, a disturbing number of women – most of them white women – nevertheless cast their ballots for an aggressive, incompetent accused sexual assailant.

    Living through sexism may make you more attuned to it, but it can also make you more accepting of it as “normal” or “just the way men are”. THIS CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE THE CASE AMONG MANY CONSERVATIVE WOMEN.

    Pence, memorably, does not permit himself to be alone with any woman who is not his wife, a woman he calls “mother”. THAT CERTAINLY PREVENTS WOMEN WHO WORK FOR PENCE FROM HAVING THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS MEN. And it suggests that Pence does not believe he can trust himself – a disturbing insight into his psyche and his ability to perform the duties of his job.

    AT THE DEBATE, PENCE WAS ALSO COWARDLY AND AVOIDANT. Page asked remarkably pointed, straightforward questions; Pence barely answered a single one. Instead, he offered word salad or tangents related to previous questions or just flat-out lies. On everything from abortion to national security to COVID-19 to healthcare, Pence was congenitally incapable of giving a direct answer to a direct question. HARRIS, BY CONTRAST, WAS LUCID, CLEAR AND STRAIGHTFORWARD.

    Harris is a politician, too, and she also danced around the answers to some questions. BUT AS A GENERAL RULE, SHE ANSWERED. AS A GENERAL RULE, PENCE DID NOT.

    NO, Pence did not shout and sputter and bluster and refuse to shut up like his boss did at the presidential debate. But consider how low we’ve set the bar, and that Mike Pence barely cleared it.

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 9, 2020 at 1:14 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 9, 2020 at 2:16 am

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 10, 2020 at 6:50 am

    THE MAN WHO PRETENDED NOT TO NOTICE

    A fly landed on Mike Pence’s head. And he did nothing.

    David Frum | The Atlantic

    “IT’S A VISUAL MEDIUM.” So often said the late Roger Ailes about television. He said it to justify hiring women who looked a certain way and requiring them to dress a certain way. Ailes’s abuse of the saying does not make it any less true.

    THE MOST STRIKING THING ABOUT THE PENCE-HARRIS DEBATE WAS NOTHING THAT WAS SAID. IT WAS WHAT WE SAW.

    WE SAW A VICE PRESIDENT WITH A PALE FACE, HIS MOUTH CANKERED BY A COLD SORE, HIS EYES PINK.

    He looked unwell, which evoked the pandemic that has gripped America — a pandemic through which the Trump White House has modeled the most irresponsible and unsafe behavior.

    That irresponsible and unsafe behavior has sickened the president and the first lady, forced the Joint Chiefs of Staff into quarantine, and spread infection though the West Wing.

    This White House is notorious for non-transparency and untruthfulness. The president evaded a COVID-19 test before the September 29 debate in Cleveland — a date by which he very probably knew he was infected and infectious.

    Everybody watching the debate had to wonder: What’s going on with the vice president? At one point, Pence was at least the titular head of the White House COVID-19 response. He defied safety protocols too. He notably refused to wear a mask on a visit to the Mayo Clinic in April, despite the hospital’s clear rule that he must.

    WE SAW A VICE PRESIDENT WHO HAD INTERNALIZED THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE’S CULTURE OF DISRESPECT, AND ESPECIALLY DISRESPECT TO WOMEN.

    Pence talked over Kamala Harris and the moderator, Susan Page; he ignored the rules of the debate to which he agreed. At the core of the Trump political project is the reassertion of dominance over the historically dominated by the historically dominant.

    That reassertion of dominance was Pence’s supreme project at this debate too. Pence did not imitate his boss’s manic and undisciplined — and ultimately catastrophically unsuccessful — style of dominance.

    INSTEAD, HE BROUGHT TO THIS DEBATE THE MORE MEASURED AND CONTROLLED DISDAIN OF A MAN WHO HAD CONSIDERED THE MATTER CAREFULLY — AND DECIDED THAT THE WOMAN IN FRONT OF HIM HAD NO RIGHT TO CONTROL HIM AND THAT THE WOMAN TO HIS RIGHT DID NOT DESERVE TO BE ONSTAGE WITH HIM.

    With the sound on, you heard Page trying and failing to summon Pence to order with a repeated, “Mr. Vice President, Mr. Vice President.” With the sound off, you saw Harris — a vice-presidential nominee, a U.S. senator, a former attorney general of the largest state in the nation — obliged to smile and smile in an effort to assert herself without seeming … well, you know, without seeming something that might offend somebody. Pence never worried about offending anybody. And he did not feel the need to smile when asserting himself.

    THEN, WE SAW A WEIRD MOMENT WHEN A FLY LANDED ON PENCE’S SNOW-WHITE HAIR — AND THE VICE PRESIDENT DID NOT REACT AT ALL.

    No doubt, it’s a conundrum, what to do in such a situation. If Pence had shooed the fly and the fly had refused to shoo, that would have been bad. SO, HE DID NOTHING.

    And that doing nothing somehow in one powerful visual moment concentrated everything. It symbolized the whole Pence vice presidency, the determined, willful refusal to acknowledge the most blaring and glaring negative realities.

    Through all of the scandals and the crimes and the disasters of the past four years, Mike Pence was the man who pretended NOT to notice.

    AND NOW THERE WAS A FLY ON HIS HEAD, AND HE PRETENDED NOT TO NOTICE THAT TOO.

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