The vice presidential debate: key quotes
Did you watch last night's debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris?
By Josh Herman, Countable News
Last night's vice presidential debate was the only one that will feature Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris this election cycle. Here are a few of the topics that were covered, and what each candidate said about them:
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
- Harris said that you respect the American people by "telling them the truth."
"Let's talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth. You respect the American people when you have the courage to be a leader, speaking of those things you may not want people to hear, but they need to hear so they can protect themselves. But this administration stood on information that if you had as a parent or a worker, if you didn't have enough money saved up, you're standing in a food line because of the ineptitude. They've had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration."
- In response to a question about last week's Rose Garden ceremony that many consider a "super spreader event," Pence said he and Trump have faith in taking health information and putting it into practice:
“The difference here is, President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health. We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.”
- Pence said, "From the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first" and pointed to the president's decision to suspend travel from China as evidence.
- Citing the interview between Trump and Bob Woodward at the outset of the virus, in which Trump said he wanted to minimize the virus, Harris said:
“They knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you. Can you imagine if you knew on January 28, as opposed to March 13, what they knew, what you might have done to prepare? They knew and they covered it up.”
- Harris said the Trump administration's response to the pandemic is the "greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country." Harris said Biden would have a plan for tracing, testing, and free vaccines.
- On pre-existing conditions, Harris said to camera:
"If you have a pre-existing condition, heart disease, diabetes breast cancer, they're coming for you."
- Harris said the health of the economy is based on the health of the worker and the family.
- Pence says Biden will scrap the Trump tax cuts, to which Harris responded:
"Biden will not raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000."
- Harris said Biden will re-enter the Paris Climate Accord "with pride."
- Pence, on Biden-Harris' environmental plans:
"More taxes, more regulation, banning fracking, abolishing fossil fuel, crushing American energy and economic surrender to China is a prescription for American decline."
- While he acknowledge the reality of the climate changing, Pence contended that it's not clear what should be done about it:
“With regard to climate change, the climate is changing, but the issue is, what’s the cause and what do we do about it?” Pence said.
CHINA & FOREIGN RELATIONS
- Harris said Trump has “embraced dictators around the world,” and sided with Russia over American intelligence.
“America’s intelligence community told us Russia interfered in the election in 2016. But Donald Trump prefers to take the word of Vladimir Putin over word of the U.S. intelligence community."
- Harris says Trump can't keep his word because he "doesn't understand what it means to be honest." She added that Trump has "betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world."
“The vice president earlier referred to as part of what he thinks is an accomplishment, the president’s trade war with China. You lost that trade war. You lost it.”
- In response, Pence accused Joe Biden of "never" fighting back against China on trade:
“Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it.”
- Harris said that 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost due to Trump’s trade war with China.
SCOTUS & the Fate of Roe v. Wade & Health Care
- Harris observed that Abraham Lincoln didn't fill a Supreme Court seat close to the election.
- Pence did not answer what he’d like his home state of Indiana to do if Roe is overturned and the issue of abortion is returned to state legislatures. But he signed a number of abortion restrictions while governor of that state.
- Harris on abortion:
“There's the issue of choice. And I will always fight for a woman's right to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision and not that of Donald Trump. And the vice president, Michael Pence.”
“I couldn't be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. I'm pro-life. I don't apologize for it.”
- Harris said she and Biden believe in the American people and democracy and implored people to "please vote."
- Pence said Democrats have spent the last three years trying to overturn the 2016 election. He dodged the question on whether Trump will commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
“If we have a free and fair election, we'll have confidence in it. And I know and believe that President Donald Trump will be re-elected for four more years.”
- Harris told Pence: “I am the only one on this stage who has personally prosecuted.” She then attacked Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists. (Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and standby” during the first presidential debate.) “This is part of a pattern,” Harris said, pointing to the president’s racist rhetoric about Mexicans, and his response to white supremacists marching in Charlottesville.
- Harris said people marched, fighting for equal justice: "We are never going to condone violence but we must fight for the values we hold dear."
- Pence said the claim that America is systemically racist and law enforcement is biased is a "great insult."
“I trust our justice system. This idea that America is systemically racist that there’s implicit bias in law enforcement is a great insult to the men and women who work in law enforcement.”
POLARIZATION IN AMERICA
An eighth grader wanted to know about polarization and disagreement in America, saying that's all they see when they watch the news.
“I would tell you that I don't assume that what you're seeing on your local news networks is synonymous with the American people.”
- Harris focused on some of the divisions in the country, referencing the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, which Biden has said motivated him to run.
“It’s so troubled and upset him like it did all of us, that there was that kind of hate and division... Joe Biden has a history of lifting people up and fighting for their dignity. I mean, you have to know Joe’s story to know that Joe has known pain, he has known suffering, and he has known love.”
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