Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Judges, fracking and a fly: Six takeaways from the US vice presidential debate

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Wednesday evening’s matchup between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Senator Kamala Harris unfolded largely freed from the chaos that marred final week’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Listed below are just a few standout moments from the controversy:


Annoyed that Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate could quickly cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court docket, some on the left have known as on Biden to broaden the nine-member courtroom to 11 or 13 seats. Harris declined to say whether or not she supported that concept.

Her silence was telling, Pence mentioned. “The straight reply is they’re going to pack the Supreme Court docket in the event that they by some means win this election,” he mentioned.


The comparatively sedate ambiance allowed stark coverage variations to return to the fore.

On world warming, for instance, Pence declined to say that it’s attributable to human exercise – the overwhelming scientific consensus – and mentioned Biden’s proposed fixes can be too costly.

He additionally inaccurately mentioned that Biden would ban hydraulic fracturing. Biden, in truth, has mentioned repeatedly he wouldn’t pursue a fracking ban, though he would oppose new permits for drilling on federal land. It’s a key challenge in electoral backgrounds like western Pennsylvania and jap Ohio, the place the method has led to a growth in power manufacturing over the previous decade.

A stray housefly sat for a number of minutes on Pence’s white hair, hanging on as he shook his head and parried with Harris over race and felony justice — offering comedian fodder for late-night hosts and Twitter customers alike. Biden’s marketing campaign offered flyswatters to capitalize on the excitement.


Following final week’s insult-laden debate between Biden and Trump, each candidates took a comparatively low-key method, greeting one another respectfully and barely elevating their voices.

Issues finally heated up, however solely to a simmer, not a boil. When Pence interrupted, Harris was in a position to silence him with a easy phrase: “Mr. Vice President, I am talking.”

Pence closed with a paean to civil discourse.

“In America we will disagree. We will debate vigorously as Senator Harris and I’ve on this stage tonight. However when the controversy is over, we come collectively as Individuals,” he mentioned.


Biden, 77, can be the oldest president in U.S. historical past if he had been to win the election. Trump, 74, spent the weekend at a navy hospital exterior Washington after contracting COVID-19.

Each candidates ducked questions concerning the well being of their aged working mates.

When requested whether or not there was a agency plan of succession in place, Pence, 61, used his time to speak about vaccines, whereas Harris, 55, talked up her biography as a baby of immigrants who went on to function California lawyer basic.

Likewise, neither answered straight when requested why their older working mates had not launched detailed well being info. Pence thanked those that had wished for Trump’s restoration, whereas Harris criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns.


Each candidates additionally danced round what would occur within the occasion of a disputed election — a situation prompted by Trump’s repeated statements that he won’t settle for the end result if he doesn’t win.

Harris urged supporters to vote, reasonably than taking part in up the potential of authorized wrangling or violence at polling locations. “If we use our voice and use our vote we are going to win,” she mentioned.

Pence didn’t promise that Trump would depart workplace if he misplaced. As a substitute, he accused Democrats of denying the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 victory via investigations and impeachment.

We have a source.


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