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Did the VP debate change a single mind?

A predictable clash between two solid professionals

October 7, 2020

11:34 PM

7 October 2020

11:34 PM

The vice presidential debate was a predictable clash between two solid professionals, each with plenty of debate experience.

Both said what they came to say, and not one jot more. Both evaded several hard questions, such as how they would handle changes in abortion laws, if the Supreme Court rules force some changes.

‘I’m glad you asked about baseball, Susan, because the American people love sports. And the sport they really love is football. That’s what’s on their mind now.’

That’s how they answered questions. If they had a prepared answer about football, that’s the answer they gave.


That meant Pence never explained how a second Trump term would handle pre-existing medical conditions and Harris never renounced a court-packing scheme. We did learn she admires Abraham Lincoln.

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The moderator, Susan Page, though she jumped over the low bar set by Chris Wallace, made two predictable errors.

First, she posed several highly biased questions. That’s not the job of the moderator, and it is unacceptable. As they say in court, she presumed facts not in evidence.

Second, the whole format encourages two parallel interviews, occasionally interrupted by a debate when the moderator shuts-the-hell-up. Page was having none of it. She moved in quickly to stop any real back-and-forth, where the candidates engage each other directly and go beyond formulaic talking points.

Pence may have cleaned up some of Donald Trump’s broken glass on Aisle 6, left in the last debate, but I don’t think many minds were changed.


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