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‘Mr Vice President, I’m speaking’: Key moments in the Harris-Pence debate

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

While last week’s presidential debate was mired in interjections and heckling, not even Joe Biden telling Donald Trump to “shut up” was enough to keep him quiet.

While last week's presidential debate was mired in interjections and heckling, not even Joe Biden telling Donald Trump to "shut up" was enough to keep him quiet.

But Kamala Harris silenced the interruption of Vice President Mike Pence with a calm but firm response.

"Mr Vice President, I'm speaking," Senator Harris said to Mr Pence on more than one occasion.

The candidates were seated about four metres apart, and behind a plexiglass shield to prevent the possible transmission of coronavirus.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listens as Vice President Mike Pence answers a question during the vice presidential debate.

Coronavirus crosstalk

Senator Harris slammed the Trump administration's response on coronavirus.

"The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country," Senator Harris said.

"They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimised the seriousness of it."

She said the Trump administration had "forfeited their right to re-election".

Mr Pence said the country had "gone through a very challenging year".

"I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first," Mr Pence said.

"Before there were more than five cases in the United States, President Donald Trump did what no other American president had ever done and that was he suspended all travel from China - the second largest economy in the world.

"Joe Biden opposed that decision."

Vice President Mike Pence during the debate with Kamala Harris.

Mr Pence said he believed the administration would have tens of millions of doses of a vaccine before the end of the year.

Mr Pence accused Senator Harris of undermining the public's confidence in a vaccine.

"If the public health professionals, if Dr (Anthony) Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I'll be the first in line to take it, absolutely," Senator Harris said.

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"But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I'm not taking it."

Mr Pence attacked the Obama administration for its failures in containing the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

Tax talk

Senator Harris steered a question about presidential medical transparency into a criticism of Donald Trump's tax records.

She criticised the president for owing US$400 million to creditors.

"Just so everyone is clear - when we say in debt, it means that you owe money to somebody," Senator Harris said.

"It would be really good to know who the President of the United States, the commander-in-chief, owes money to. Because the American people have a right to know what is influencing the president's decisions."

Senator Kamala Harris during the Vice Presidential debate.

Mr Pence said Mr Trump had "turned the economy around" from the Obama administration.

"The American people have a president who is a businessman, a job creator," Mr Pence said.

Senator Harris said a Biden administration would repeal Mr Trump's tax cuts for America's richest people.

"Joe Biden believes you measure the health and the strength of America's economy based on the health and the strength of the American worker and the American family," she said.

"On the other hand, you have Donald Trump who measures the strength of the economy based on how rich people are doing."

Mr Pence accused Mr Biden and Senator Harris of seeking to raise taxes.

"On day one, Joe Biden is going to raise your taxes," Mr Pence said.

"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want to raise taxes, bury our economy under a $2 trillion Green New Deal which you were one of the original cosponsors of in the United States Senate, meanwhile abolish fossil fuels and ban fracking which would cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs all across the heartland."

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Senator Harris said a Biden administration would not raise taxes on anyone making less than US$400,000 a year.

Climate change

Mr Pence questioned whether humans are responsible for climate change during the vice presidential debate.

"With regard to climate change, the climate is changing," he said.

"The issue is, what is the cause and what do we do about it?"

Mr Pence accused Mr Biden and Senator Harris of wanting to abolish fossil fuels.

"They would impose the Green New Deal which would crush American energy, would increase the energy costs of American families in their homes and literally would crush American jobs," Mr Pence said.

He decried "climate alarmists" for tying hurricanes and wildfires to global warming.

Kamala Harris during the debate.

Senator Harris said the Biden economic plan would create seven million more jobs than Mr Trump's.

"Joe believes in science," she said.

"We have seen a pattern with this administration, that they don't believe in science."

She said a Biden administration would re-enter the Paris accord with pride.

Abortion bans

Mr Pence dodged a question about abortion in a discussion about the Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Mr Pence was asked directly if he wanted his home state to ban all abortions if Judge Barrett was part of a Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion.

But Mr Pence's answer did not touch upon the issue, instead accusing the Democratic Party of attacking her Christian faith.

"We hope we don't see the kind of attacks on her Christian faith that we saw before," Mr Pence said.

"The Democrat chairman of the Judiciary Committee before, when Judge Barrett was being confirmed, expressed concern that the dogma of her faith lived loudly in her."

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Senator Harris took umbrage at Mr Pence's comments.

"Joe Biden and I are both people of faith. It is insulting to suggest that we would knock anyone of faith," she said.

Later, Mr Pence touted his "pro-life" credentials.

"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer-funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth," he said.

"For our part, I would never presume how Judge Amy Coney Barrett would rule on the Supreme Court of the United States.

"But we will continue to stand strong for the right to life."

Law enforcement

Mr Pence accused Senator Harris of presuming that law enforcement officials are implicitly biased and that America is systematically racist.

"I want everyone to know who puts on uniform of law enforcement every day President Trump and I stand with you," Mr Pence said.

But Senator Harris took umbrage at Mr Pence's claim.

"I will not sit here and be lectured by the Vice President on what it means to enforce the laws of this country," she said.

"I am the only one on this stage who personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assaults to homicide.

"I am the only one on the stage who has prosecuted the big banks for taking advantage of America's home owners."

The fly

If there was a moment in the debate that captured the attention of the viewers, it was the most innocuous of stage intruders.

As Mike Pence was speaking, a fly nestled in his hair.

Vice President Mike Pence during the debate.

And Twitter went wild.

Within minutes, a Twitter account was created from the perspective of the fly itself.

And the Biden campaign turned the moment into a fundraising pitch.

Source: 9News

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