What Are People Saying About the Vice Presidential Debate?

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One week after the first presidential debate, last night’s vice presidential debate amassed approximately 22.6 million viewers. The debate, moderated by Susan Page, seemed more coherent and cordial than last week’s presidential debate. Additionally, there was a plexiglass COVID-19 barrier between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) due to COVID-19 concerns. Here’s what people are saying about the vice presidential debate.

What are pundits saying about Harris’ debate performance?

Several pundits have said that Harris’s performance was strong and that she won the debate. Van Jones, a prominent CNN commentator, tweeted that Kamala handled the debate “masterfully.” MSNBC’s Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski complimented Harris for seeming disciplined and said that she maintained a balanced yet firm tone. 

Long-time columnist and political commentator E.J. Dionne wrote in an article that he thought Harris won by explaining what Biden would do differently as president, discussing President Trump’s downfalls, and addressing the Trump administration’s alleged failure to combat COVID-19. Additionally, Dionne stated that many women watching the debate might have sympathized with Harris since she was interrupted several times by Pence. In one instance, Harris responded by telling Pence, “I will not be lectured.”

Other pundits feel less enthusiastic about Harris’ performance. Pollster Frank Luntz told FOX News Wednesday evening morning that, according to an online focus group of voters that he assembled, Harris came off “abrasive and condescending.” Luntz tweeted that his focus group acknowledged Harris’s knowledge but didn’t like her tone and facial expressions to Pence.

What are pundits saying about Pence’s debate performance?

Some pundits said that Vice President Pence won the debate. Republican Staten Island political strategist Leticia Remauro said that she believes Pence won because he delivered his message in an even tone that may have connected with some viewers. 

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter tweeted that she believes Pence “wiped the floor” with Harris. Rick Lowry, the editor of National Review, suggested that Pence should be President Trump’s substitute for the next presidential debate.

Some people raised concerns that Vice President Pence did not directly answer moderator Page’s questions. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) asked in a tweet why Pence doesn’t “have to answer any of the questions” he was asked.

What are everyday people saying?

According to a recent poll, 69 percent of debate viewers described Harris’s performance as “very good” or “somewhat good,” compared to 60 percent who said the same for Vice President Pence. The surveyed viewers also stated that they were more impressed with the policies Harris outlined. Both vice presidential contenders got better rankings for their performance than President Trump did after last week’s presidential debate. 33 percent of presidential debate viewers thought the president performed well.

According to another poll of registered voters, approximately 59 percent of people said Harris won, while 38 percent said Pence won.

A surprise that went viral

People took to social media platforms to draw attention to a fly in Pence’s hair that he didn’t seem to notice. Many viewers joked that the bug won the debate. The fly immediately went viral, and some people have created Twitter accounts for the fly, including Pence Fly, Pence’s Hair Fly, and Mike Pence Fly.

When is the next vice presidential debate?

Last night’s debate was the first and only vice presidential debate of 2020. Earlier today, President Trump said he would not participate in a virtual presidential debate despite being diagnosed with COVID-19 on October 1. The next presidential debate was initially scheduled for October 15, with the final of the three scheduled debates is set for October 22, and both dates may now be subject to change. In a new statement, the Trump campaign said the president would participate in the debates if they are both pushed back a week and held in person.

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