Pence-Harris meet for United States VP debate: Live news


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Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris, with Al Jazeera Americas senior editor Jennifer Glasse, political editor Steve Chaggaris, William Roberts, Creede Newton and debate analyst Alan Schroeder.
In 1984, the first-ever general election debate between male and female candidates proved treacherous for then-vice president George HW Bush, AlJazeera.com debate analyst Alan Schroeder notes. About halfway through the debate, opponent Geraldine Ferraro delivered a soundbite that resonated with millions of American women: “I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronising attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy.”
For the remainder of the debate, Bush never regained his footing.
Various women’s groups around the US will gather as Kamala Harris, the first woman of colour on a major ticket takes the debate stage tonight.
Activist groups, college associations and individuals around the country have organised mostly online “watch parties” as Harris debates US Vice President Mike Pence.
“I really can tell that Kamala is ready,” said Rahdiah Barnes, the president of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications in New York, which pushes for diversity in media, and has organised a watch party. “This is history. She has something to prove, and I’ve heard her say a couple of things over the past couple days, so I can know that she’s getting ready for war.”
Vice President Pence’s campaign initially rejected the proposal to have plexiglass barriers between the candidates, as a coronavirus precaution, but later relented.
Pre-debate haggling about production details dates all the way back to the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates, points out AlJazeera.com debate analyst Alan Schroeder. In past years, on-site negotiators have battled about lighting, lecterns, room temperature, reaction shots – even the colour of the background. Who could have imagined that in 2020 the dispute would involve plexiglass?
Even if Donald Trump had not become the international poster child for COVID-19, he was always destined to loom over the vice-presidential debate, especially after his disastrous opening encounter with Joe Biden, writes presidential debate expert Alan Schroeder.
Now, the president’s illness – and the uncertainty shrouding the state of his health – presents Republican running mate Mike Pence with a tricky challenge. It also complicates the task of Democratic nominee Kamala Harris, leaving her with a delicate line to walk. Even in absentia, even from his sickbed, Trump commands centre stage at the vice-presidential debate.
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