LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
SALT LAKE CITY – For 90 minutes, Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen.
Kamala Harris faced each other behind plexiglass partitions in a low-key debate that was peevish but generally polite.
Harris was tough and firm but didn’t exactly mop the floor with her Republican rival. She attacked President Donald Trump for paying little or no federal income taxes over the past decade. She claimed he set off a failed trade war with China and endangered the country’s safety with a feckless foreign policy. She said he pandered to white supremacists.
She also assailed Pence’s honesty — “I think this is a debate that’s supposed to be based on face and truth” — and bristled when her interrupted her, using a stern voice to reclaim her time. “Mr. Vice President,” she chided, “I’m speaking.”
Pence accused Biden of stealing the administration’s plan to fight the pandemic. “It looks a little like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows a little bit about,” Pence said, a dig at the scandal that forced the former vice president to abandon his first White House bid in 1988.
Pence’s heaviest lift may have been persuading Americans that he and the rest of the Trump administration have done a bang-up job on COVID-19, even as the president could plausibly be labeled a super-spreader of the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
“I want the American people to know from the very first day, President Trump has put the health of the American people first,” Pence insisted.
But Harris hit back hard, saying Trump and Pence had learned of the danger of COVID-19 in January but chose not to share that information with the public until the president did so in March.