After-Action Report: The Vice Presidential Debate

The first Vice Presidential Debate occurred last night between Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence in Salt Lake City, Utah. What Happened?


The Vice Presidential Debate was fast-paced and revealing, despite the bizarre circumstances.

  • The VP Debate occurred a little over one week after the Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which was chaotic.
  • At the start of the debate, Biden was ahead in the General Election polls by about 9 points.
  • The Debate was hosted by USA Today correspondent Susan Page.
  • Page started the debate by asking a question about coronavirus. Harris called Trump’s coronavirus response the “greatest failure of any presidential administration,” and Pence responded by bringing up Obama’s H1N1 response.
  • The moderator directly asked Pence about his presence at Amy Coney Barrett‘s SCOTUS nomination hearing, which some are calling a super-spreader Pence said that he and his colleagues were acting within the parameters of safe COVID-19 guidelines.
  • The conversation segued to questions about affordable healthcare, which Pence claimed that the Biden administration would repeal for Americans. Harris claimed that the Trump administration would do the same.
  • On the subject of taxes, Pence said that Biden would raise Americans’ taxes “on day one.” Harris repeatedly emphasized that Biden would not raise taxes for any American whose income is less than $400,000.
  • On the topic of race, Harris criticized Donald Trump for not denouncing white supremacy in last week’s debate and for his prior comments about the Charlottesville riots in which he said that there were both good and bad people on “both sides.” Pence said that she was taking the President’s words out of context.
  • Pence said that Biden endorsed the Green New Deal, while Harris said that this was not the case and emphasized the Democrats’ emphasis on science and evidence-based policy.
  • Pence emphasized his pro-life belief, and pushed for a swift nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. He criticized Harris for attacking a prior nominee for attending Knights of Columbus meetings. Harris said that both she and Joe Biden are “people of faith,” and promised to uphold bodily autonomy for women. Both candidates declined to say whether or not they would pack the Supreme Court.
  • Pence repeatedly stated that Biden would end fracking, which Harris vehemently refuted.
  • Harris said that Trump lost the trade war with China. Pence said that this was a lie, and that Biden wants to “go back to the economic surrender to China.”
  • When asked whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power in the event of a loss, Pence said that he and Trump expect to win the election, and highlighted the extensive efforts of democrats to get Trump out of office during his term.
  • The debate ended with a question from a Utah 8th grader, who encouraged the two candidates to “get along.”
  • Throughout the debate, Harris and Pence interrupted each other and dodged questions, and Harris made expressive faces. At one point, viewers were distracted by a fly that landed on Pence’s head during the event. Both of these became fodder for memes and internet chatter on social media.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Reports on the monumental event that is having a black woman on the VP debate floor.
  • Points out that Pence probably should not have attended the debate as COVID-19 continues to tear through the White House and its staff.
  • Reflects on the COVID-19 prevention measures at the event, which included plexiglass and masks for most attendees.
  • Encourages voters not to lose sight of the catastrophe that was last week’s Presidential Debate, and that is the GOP in general.
  • Seeks to clarify Biden policies.




  • Reports that Pence invited the owner of a Minneapolis storefront that was looted by protesters to the event.
  • Blasts Harris for making faces and rolling her eyes will Pence spoke.
  • Argues that the debate questions were unfairly biased, and avoided asking Harris difficult questions.
  • Undermines Harris by saying that she does not understand her and Biden’s own policies.
  • Writes that the Biden campaign’s fly swatter stunt was in poor taste.


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© Evelyn Torsher, 2020