Live Blog: Vice-Presidential Debate in Salt Lake City, UT

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Time: 9:00PM-10:30PM ET (no commercial breaks)

Place: Kingsbury Hall, Nancy Peery Marriott Auditorium, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Host: The Commission on Presidential Debates (not a network)

Moderator: Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief.

Candidate line-up:

Mike Pence (Vice-President of the United States)
Kamala Harris (former Senator from California, Vice-Presidential candidate)

The topics will be selected by the moderator, and had not been revealed as of this afternoon.

The format:

The format will be similar to the widely panned first presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden. It will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each, and there will be no commercial breaks, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Unlike the presidential debate, topics are not being disclosed ahead of time.

The moderator will ask an opening question to Pence first, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond, the commission said. Page will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Those “deeper discussions” led to the candidates interrupting each other and speaking over each other in the Trump-Biden debate, but Pence and Harris are more traditional debaters.

There will be no opening or closing statements. Pence and Harris will each be seated behind a desk.

On Covid:

There will be “a small number of ticketed guests” who will be tested before the debate, but they will be escorted out if they do not wear masks during the event, the commission said — an apparent nod to the Trump family’s refusal to keep their masks on during the first debate.

Plexiglass is installed in front of each candidate’s desk.

Harris’ team had asked for the measure, which was mocked by Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller. “If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it,” Miller said Monday.

Here is an image of the plexiglass set-up:

What seems clear to me, given aerosol transmission, is that the value of the plexiglass is purely symbolic. Miller’s giving it the old college try, but everybody knows — or at least will think — that the plexiglass is there to protect Harris from Pence, not vice versa. I’m picturing Harris walking out as the debate starts, then spraying down her side of the plexiglass with Purell and wiping it with a cloth.

How to watch:

The debate will be carried by all major broadcast networks and will also be widely available on YouTube. NBC, ABC, Fox News, and C-Span are all carrying streams, with some of them beginning commentary in advance of the official start time.

The debate will also be streamed on C-SPAN (and a million other places).

Here is a drinking game, from the Washingtonian (not Taibbi). There is also a bingo card. Momala?

* * *

The Brookings Institute explains the stakes:

Vice presidential debates tend to be boring events focused on how best a candidate would help the president if elected and what types of policies an administration would pursue. In the background of these debates is always the recognition that either individual must be ready to become president, if their ticket succeeds. However, the 2020 race offers us the two oldest presidential nominees in American history. One of whom is currently battling a serious health crisis—President Donald Trump—and another who has dealt with series health challenges in the 1980s—former Vice President Joe Biden. Whether Mr. Trump is reelected or Mr. Biden wins next month, they will be sworn in during a deadly pandemic that has proved to be particularly dangerous to older men. And Americans will be watching the VP debate with renewed awareness that one of those two individuals could easily become president—not because they ran for the office but because they succeeded to the office.

I can’t say I find either candidate especially appealing. I don’t like either of their politics, if Harris in fact has any, and I don’t like that Harris somehow got herself into the line of succession, and made herself the front-runner for two more Presidential cycles, after doing so badly in the primaries she had to drop out. (DNC to voters: “You’ll eat the dog food and like it.”) To be fair, they love her in the Hamptons and on the Vineyard, and that’s what counts.

As with the previous Presidential debate, if Harris isn’t knocked out, she wins.

* * *

As usual, this post does not update; readers may track the debate in real time in comments.

Please keep your comments as informative and analytical as possible. Write for the reader who hasn’t seen the debate, and comes to this site in lieu of watching it on TV. There are no points at NC for knee-jerk, context-free one-liners (“Boo ____!” or “Yay!”) that only those who are also watching can make sense of; that’s for Facebook or Reddit.

I think it adds more value if you take a moment, use your critical thinking skills, then comment, and readers can discuss what you say. That way, those who cannot watch the debate — or can’t stand to do so — can get a good idea of what really happened by reading what you write after the fact. This is what the NC commentariat is so very good at, after all. Last time, the times before that, and this time. Thank you!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. The Rev Kev

      It is actually double-plagiarism on Biden’s part when you think about it. Build back better? Because things are not as great as they were once? So that you can Make something-something Great Again?

      1. Clem

        Hey, it worked for almost half a century in the senate, why change anything?

        “Biden has plagiarized speeches from other politicians many times during his career, appropriating passages from the likes of Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. The deceitful practice began at least as far back as law school, and continues to this day, with Biden’s campaign just recently releasing a list of policy proposals, many of which were stolen word-for-word from the platform of Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders”–and-this-time-its-even-worse-n2573787

  1. Antidlc

    That moderator needs to get more aggressive shutting down speakers that go over the time limit.

  2. Old Jake

    Almost 9:30 (in the east) and only a couple of comments, from early. I think nobody’s watching this one. I’m not, because what would I learn? It’s not likely to be riveting entertainment.

  3. WhoaMolly

    I literally cant watch. The power, manipulativeness and elegance of the lies is sickening. I’m depending on NC commentariat to suffer for me

    1. notabanker

      I made it through the first question to each and turned it off. There is no way I’m voting for any of these clowns.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, he’s very good at running over the moderator without looking aggressive.

      More generally, he’s also good at selling shit sandwiches.

      1. TomDority

        I did notice a fly landing on Pence….Hmmmm

        Also, when Pence said in same sentence – that retrofitting 4 million commercial buildings would be disaterous for Jawbs — could not believe Harris had no retort – even simple like – Who do you suppose will do those retrofits?

    1. Pavel

      They should have a binding NONE OF THE ABOVE option on every ballot. If it gets the most votes there is another election and none of the initial candidates could run again.

      That would increase voter turnout.

      1. sierra7

        Synoia and Pavel:
        You both said it succinctly!
        No need to go any further!
        Watched for about 5 minutes and it disturbed me too much.
        Some-one else above mentioned “clowns”; yes, there are other clowns in this total circus.

  4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    LOL Kamala the fighter against the big banks to protect homeowners. Black really is white

      1. Tom Doak

        Well the Trump administration can hardly call hervout for that, considering he’s their guy now. All part of the Great Assimilation!

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since Mnuchin designed the “Trump” tax cuts, maybe we should call them the Mnuchin tax cuts; and Kamala immunized and impunified Mnuchin so he could circulate in general population instead of stagnating behind bars, maybe we should call them the Kamalanuchin tax cuts.

          1. Clem

            Why do you think out of the half million that Mnuchin personally donated to Republicans, and their foundations, he chose to donate to Harris’ senate campaign?

            Was it a thank you tip for not prosecuting him, or,
            an investment to get his puppet into the senate?

            Watch president Harris/Biden nominate him to Treasury just like Obama did the same with George W Bush’s scoundrels.

  5. marym

    This is supposed to be the country’s most pressing problem. If her point is that the Trump admin hasn’t dealt with it seriously, Harris isn’t doing herself any favors with the smirking.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Sorry, the smirk is 100% on form. Divine right to rule, the stupid plebes just need shut up and listen to their betters

      1. Clem

        Even the fly rejected her :-)

        Her smile is disgustingly pianokey perfect and she holds it too long. More a rictus than a smile.

  6. Mason

    Quite pointless to this, I’ll just leave it to Kyle K. Twitter feed. I guess the only usefulness of this is getting a clue or two as to how horrific Kamala Harris would be as POTUS.

  7. Antidlc

    This is awful. Are either of them actually going to answer the questions?

    Not sure I can watch much more of this.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, started with Harris right at the top. Also made the “you need a civics lesson” claim that Biden would repeal the Trump tax law day 1. If repealing legislation were that easy, Trump would have deked Obamacare day 1.

      Remarkable cherry picking by Pence on Covid and climate change. Pence really does show how this “freedom” blather goes down well if you don’t think much.

  8. Brunches with Cats

    Well, the noise level is tolerable, which counts for a lot. I have less of a problem with their going over time than with their evading the question. I’d rather that Page hold their feet to the fire to answer the damn question instead of letting them get away with sticking to their talking points.

  9. Stephen C.

    They are not answering the questions, just giving prepared speeches that don’t have a connection to the questions, and the moderator is letting them get away with it.

    Harris is indeed smirking. But I don’t think she ever is not smirking.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      It’s annoying … sooooo annoying … ask a question about GND? Get an answer about fracking.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        And can someone recover from the offslaught to say what the answers on fracking are? (Presuming they’re not all the same “All of the Above”. . . )

        1. ChrisAtRU

          This debate could have happened in a Republican Primary … they’re literally trying to out-pro-frack each other!

  10. juneau

    I was hoping they would manage to discuss actual plans for the future, to outline out their platforms in a coherent manner. It’s not going to happen. What a disappointment. Pence is hogging the scene repeating Trump’s strategy whilst being inaudible.

  11. Stephen C.

    I really don’t know why the Dems double down on Obamacare. I guess they think it makes up for the thrashing of M4all.

    1. Carla

      Obamacare is MUCH BETTER than M4A. You didn’t know that? What the hell is wrong with you? /s

      Oh, I got it. Maybe you’ve been sick once or twice in your life. Or maybe you know someone who has been. Maybe that’s why you think M4A would be better than Obamacare…

    2. Guild Navigator

      Being pro-Obamacare gets the PMC off the hook for being callous classists. Plus, it is another way they can suck up to their bosses: workers with employer-funded healthcare do not strike. What good, compassionate conservatives all us Americans are! Whoopee-Q!

    3. tegnost

      Think of all the MBA’s in medicine, the insurance industry, these peoples jobs depend on an extractive industry in medicine. They wrote the bill.


      and they’ve gotten their kids into it too, so even more incentive.
      A continued rapacious health care system is what they have banked on,
      but it’s also why only a (very gullible person) would take their vaccine,,,
      of course we could always harness the energy of jonas salk spinning in his grave..
      so there’s that…

  12. lordkoos

    Pence using the most tired conservative talking points along with outright lies (the environment). I wish they would ask him about being a Christian.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Isaiah 10:1-2:

          Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

          2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

          James 5:1-5:

          5 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

          2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

          3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

          4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

          5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

          1. flora

            Thanks, Lambert. If I’m to the left of whatever the current Dem estab has become, aka not a worshiper of Mammon, it’s because of what I learned in Sunday school. Not kidding. (And thankyou, Rev. E., for teaching The Beatitudes by example instead of by precept. )

  13. Guild Navigator

    This debate is between two empty suits: one is an empty suit who believes in nothing but careerism and the other poor rube is a true believer in the Swiss Cheese of business-friendly Christo-fascism. Will the Chambers of Commerce throughout the fruited plain get their softspot back for the G.O.P. after switching cars to the other wing of the Republican party? Pence is slamming the Mnuchin-funded one’s running mate’s eco hypocrisy nicely.

  14. Stephen C.

    Well, I’m out. Watching this makes me think I really need to get a life!

    I ripped up my ballot yesterday anyway.

    Tonight I was going to make a drinking game (red wine) every time Kamala talked about being poor and oppressed as a black person, but my wife bailed out to go play the piano and it’s no fun drinking alone. I’m thinking my wife is the wiser of us two.

    1. tegnost

      The only way to get back at them is by voting,
      There must be someone on the ballot you can support
      you can leave the pres blank and vote as left as possible locally to make those effers lives as difficult as possible. it makes you an undervote, which is kind of cool.
      Vote for what you want,
      don’t vote for what you don’t want
      The example would be what if the 100 million non voters 2016 all registered, and the actual winner was none of the above?

      1. orlbucfan

        Not voting is a big reason why we are stuck with all the corrupt manure throughout all areas of government. I voted Green on POTUS and then got down to serious business on the rest of the ballot. There was plenty of important items to consider.

  15. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    LOL now Kamala with the “fact” that Biden will not ban fracking. Better tell Joe about it

  16. CarlH

    The only thing the Biden campaign seems to be passionate about is NOT banning fracking. Well done Dems, well done. To quote notabanker earlier “There is no way I’m voting for any of these clowns”.

    1. Guild Navigator

      Not banning fracking and not rolling back any deregulation. As they say:
      * the Republicans rob the bank, the Dems drive the getaway car
      * Democrats rig the primaries, Republicans rig the general

      1. Guild Navigator

        No, Scranton Joe has made a career selling out Scranton but delivering to Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons and creating the dystopic breeding ground that could spawn a Trump and what neo-feudalist, fascist swamp creatures (Tom Cotton) that follow in his wake. And President Don “tiny hands” Junior, a.k.a. “The Great”.

  17. lordkoos

    They are both staying on script and neither seems able to think on their feet. The stats they quote are BS.

      1. Clive

        It was all dreary enough as it was without inflicting that on us, too!

        Besides, where’s the fun if they can’t make up nonsense on the spot?

  18. Phil in KC

    I think that however many seconds or minutes one candidate goes over the limit, the other candidate should be awarded the same amount of time in addition to their regular time.

  19. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    LOLOL Trump lost the trade war with China. Wasn’t the rabid globalists led by Biden

  20. skk

    Kamala Harris is better when she’s angry. Not quite in the Hulk category – but she drops the smirk then.

  21. Not50plus

    Oh come on. Yes you all hate Neoliberals. Yes Obama is evil and part of a non Democratic psychophantic Clinton clown cult blah blah blah blah.
    But Pence? Trump? You’d rather not vote and have these maniacs back? And decimate the environment through the EPA? And continue to provide insane tax cuts? Climate change?
    Please people. Please.

    1. Phillip Allen

      If I believed that the net effect of the Harris regency would be materially better than Trump’s regime, then I might possibly be convinced that voting for Harris/Biden over Trump/Pence would be a moral and effective choice. I don’t believe that, however. I think the shape and smell of the disaster each regime would bring in train will have their differences, but I doubt very much those differences will matter much to me. I think open fascism is just as likely under the Harris faction as under Trump’s. We know that the business of government-as-looting won’t change much. Both Harris/Biden and Trump/Pence are putrescent effects of the fundamental rot of the uncontrollable system our owners and masters have engineered, a system staggering toward inevitable collapse.

      For me, on my state’s ballot, the only moral choice is Hawkins/Walker.

  22. JohnnySacks

    She’s functionally incapable of defending the concept of the ‘Green New Deal’. Fracking, nothing negative, ignore Clean Water Act exemptions. I’m I’ll.
    NAFTA, 47 years of Biden, and no mention of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Paul Ryan, John Boehner?

    1. Guild Navigator

      Things are not going back to normal after this is all over.
      Whatever normal was, we are not going back to that.

      Let the redbaiting begin, woohoo!

    2. Rohan Saharia

      At this point she’s only talking to WI, MI, FL, OH. Fracking is popular there. Agendas will shift once (if) they come to power.

        1. Carla

          “Agendas will shift once (if) they come to power.”

          EXCUSE ME? Please talk to me in 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024…

          Not a chance in [family blog] hell.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Agendas will shift once (if) they come to power.

        For the better? Why?

        Obama, on Fatherhood in 2008:

        But now, my life revolves around my two little girls. And what I think about is what kind of world I’m leaving them. Are they living in a country where there’s a huge gap between a few who are wealthy and a whole bunch of people who are struggling every day? Are they living in a country that is still divided by race? A country where, because they’re girls, they don’t have as much opportunity as boys do? Are they living in a country where we are hated around the world because we don’t cooperate effectively with other nations? Are they living a world that is in grave danger because of what we’ve done to its climate?

        I had to do some reading to find that quote; he had thought he had some anaphoric riff on climate in his first Inaugural, not no. What a [family blogging] con artist. Such stuff-

        Obama, 2018:

  23. Smitty

    This moderator is terrible. Gives Pence wayyyyy too much overtime. She is not nearly assertive enough.

  24. Katiebird

    We gave up about 20 minutes ago. Between Pence’s relentless talking and Harris’ inappropriate facial expressions, I was too rattled to listen.

    And I can’t stand debates.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Maybe if they let in more candidates — some of those who want to discuss issues….

    1. Katiebird

      I should have said that I hate this form of Political Debates. I liked the old format with League of Women Voters running things and wish we could get back to that.

      Never saw a High School Debate but was friends with several debaters.

  25. Fern

    Kamala Harris attacked Trump for not reacting aggressively to the “intelligence information” that Russia offered bounties for killing American soldiers, and Mike Pence didn’t even seem to know that the Pentagon had repudiated that story — the pentagon said they looked into it and there was no evidence that it’s true. He just let her get away with that statement.

    The foreign policy discussion was blood-curdling.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The foreign policy discussion was blood-curdling.

      I expxcted Harris to be shallow, but not this shallow. I can’t believe I’m reading this.

      [HARRIS:] So I love talking with Joe about a lot of these issues and Joe, I think he said it quite well*. He says, “Foreign policy, it might sound complicated, but really it’s relationships.” Just think about it as relationships. So we know this in our personal and professional relationships, you got to keep your word to your friends. Got to be loyal to your friends. People who’ve stood with, you got to stand with them. You got to know who your adversaries are and keep them in check. But what we have seen with Donald Trump is that he has betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world.

      Harris, it is safe to say, is not a foreign policy realist. She seems to think that the whole world works like the California liberal Democrat networks that catapulted her to her current position. Unfortunately for Harris, in the world of geopolitics, there is no Willie Brown equivalent.

      NOTE * Mansplaining is ok when our guy does it.

  26. farragut

    Kamala Harris : “Nothing will fundamentally change in a Joe Biden administration, but if it does, it will be incremental change. That’s true leadership.”

    1. tegnost

      In the meantime amazon google facebook uber et al. will gobble up everything in large gulping chunks…

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The small holdouts of NOmazon which NOmazoners keep alive by keeping buying from them are the small holdouts of NOmazon which may survive into a post-Amazon future if there is one.

  27. ChiGal in Carolina

    Aargh! If the moderator says, “Mr Vice President, Mr Vice President” ONE MORE TIME in a pathetic attempt to shut him up as he repeatedly talks over the time limits I will have to stop listening altogether. Already stopped watching, too unbearable.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I believe I predicted during the Trump Biden debate that the TV entity hosting debates would never ever permit any moderator to be able to silence any mike at will. All-live mikes all the time are a necessary precondition for TV confrontainment.

  28. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Super insipid voice. No wonder people utterly rejected her in the primaries. Correction: even before any of the primaries. I’m sorry for Dems, they voted in the primaries but then got this

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      I think the Ds got, not a twofer, but a toofar . . . in several directions, but chiefly too far gone. Is there any worse ticket they could have had to try to represent themselves as opposing both social and economic extremism on Federal courts than Joe “Clarence Thomas hearing chair” Biden and Kamala “Steve Mnuchin non-prosecutor” Harris?

      1. Guild Navigator

        If this election were the plate and these politicians the food, it would be better to wait for the next meal. Interplanetary space is so empty maybe ‘cuz civilizations must destroy themselves when their dominant species’ heads grows too big, and groups lose the ability to prevent concentrated power from accumulating in too few hands among the malefactors of their kind.

  29. Wukchumni

    Literally the only thing i’ve learned from the mockbate is that Kamala has a straight edged old glory lapel flag pin, while Mike prefers one that appears to be flowing from all the hot air emanating from his eminence

  30. MichaelSF

    Kamala Harris (former Senator from California, Vice-Presidential candidate)

    Don’t go getting my hopes up with the “former” modifier, though I’m not keen on her becoming “former” by moving into the VP position.

  31. skk

    Has he got a fly in his toupee ? Its blown it !

    Waiter waiter,,

    Separately, she is better when she’s angry – definitely drops the smirk.

  32. Objective Ace

    Joe’s going to eliminate Private Prisons? I havent heard that talking point before.. you’d think that would be newsworthy

  33. michael99

    It bothers me that both candidates always continue to speak after their time is up. They don’t seem to make any effort to wrap up their remarks quickly – they just roll over the moderator.

  34. Rohan

    Insipid pabulum being served as plans and agenda. One is insidious, the other status quoist. Only distinction, in my view, is a difference in stance on policies on environment and climate. Worth voting for.

  35. WhoaMolly

    I Suspect K is a Clinton choice .

    I wonder what went down in the Hamptons when K had her audience (early in primaries before K was soundly rejected by the plebes)

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      That penny dropped for me too. Explains why Tulsi went for her jugular, at the time I wondered Why Kamala?

      (Just fantasizing about how I would feel if the dignified, trustworthy, and believable Gabbard was up there…)

      1. WhoaMolly

        Gabbard comes across as one of the finest most capable people in modern politics.

        Don’t understand why she didn’t sweep the primaries

        1. Clem

          Because she IS one of the finest most capable people in modern politics.
          Therefore, the establishent, media, DNC, profit-driven “resistance” and other Blue Bullring-through the nose-Democrats made sure she was dumped pronto.

          1. Guild Navigator

            WAS pretending to be (TG) one of the finest, rather. RSS ties and other things gave off a stank. Being a boutique candidate there to hound Bernie to his left on foreign policy and she never backed M4A, I suspected Tulsi might be a bit of a plant. After the job was done (threat/hope of Bernie crushed), the purpose had been served. I’m not cynical.

        2. dcblogger

          huh? she endorsed Biden rather than Bernie when she dropped out, she recently smeared Ilhan Omar, she had a right wing record in the Hawaiian legislature.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Noteworthy that Bernie never returned any of Tulsi’s emails or phone calls right up to when she endorsed Biden. Now why would Bernie not even talk to her?

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Jimmy Dore had a video where he analyzed the Gabbard endorsement for Biden. He concluded that Sanders’s neglect and sometimes betrayal of Gabbard left Gabbard no rational choice but to endorse Biden. A choice which Dore completely understood and sympathised with.

            With enough effort, the video could be found.

            1. The Rev Kev

              drumlin woodchuckles
              October 8, 2020 at 1:10 am

              I think that this is the video that you mean which I saw back in March. Reading between the lines, it seems that she told Dore what the deal was but that she was unwilling to say so herself on camera-

     (30:42 mins)

            2. MichaelSF

              Isn’t there always the option of making no endorsement at all? That at least leaves bridges relatively unburnt, not only with the various political groups but also with concerned onlookers.

  36. Brunches with Cats

    This debate format is execrable. It invites going over time and then using the next question’s time allotment to respond to the last one. Then again, more response time wouldn’t do squat unless the candidates were called out on twisted facts. Considering that none of their talking points are new, the moderator should have had a tabulated notebook with facts to push back. Of course, there would be a “Russian interference” page with “17 intelligence agencies concurred….”

    Sigh. Sticking with this only because of the likelihood that one of these two lizards in a human suit will be president before the next election. Scary and depressing.

  37. JeffC

    Our family all pronounced simultaneously at the end that the fly won. Certainly the fly was the most interesting part of the event — can’t bring myself to call that a debate — for sure.

  38. Clem

    God, her smile is a rictus.

    If you want a different look into their souls, just try
    watching the debate with the sound off.

    She looks like a cross between Mussolini and the creature on Alien.

    Pence is one cool cucumber. He didn’t even worry about the fly on his head. It first tried to land on Harris but was scared off by her gesticulating.

    1. a different chris

      >Pence is one cool cucumber.

      He’s a mansplainer that has no idea when the (family blog) to shut up. He’s that guy in the meeting that makes everybody’s heart sink when they see he’s gonna be there.

      Instead of turning the sound off, why didn’t you turn away from the screen and listen to what they say, instead? People who think they can understand complete strangers on the freaking TV by watching their facial expressions do not impress me.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Instead of turning the sound off, why didn’t you turn away from the screen and listen to what they say,

        It’s certainly possible to do both. For myself, I think removing the audio channel removes the layer of possible verbal manipulation, not such a bad thing.

        As for mansplaining, those for whom microaggressions are killer issues will vote on that basis. I would also expect President-elect Harris it handle it, since it won’t go away.

        For myself, I would take factors into account like Harris failing to win a single primary, dropping out, and then being installed by the Democrat establishment because she’s good at raising money in the Hamptons as more dispositive. And of course her concern that California might not have enough slaves to fight wildfires.

        1. Clive

          Yes, I often watch these kinds of things while mentally tuning in and out of the words, especially when I know what the answers to the questions will be or what word salad will be served up in a rebuttal.

          It’s of course subjective rather than objective, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful to do as an exercise. For a non-US culture person, Harris looked pure Hollywood — that hair must cost $2-300 a time, the stylist is the best in the business, that dentistry is $20,000 at least and not only that, but some real expertise has been applied to how it looks on TV with studio lighting. I think she’s had voice coaching (as someone who had a strong accent and had to learn to hide it, you recognise the tendency to affectation on certain syllables) and certainly a tonne of media training. She’s a creation, then, maybe her own, but then again, maybe someone else’s.

          Pence, well, he’s had the same haircut since he was 16. And, again, from an outside perspective where religiosity is an oddity, speaks with that steely eyed reassurance that he has his own personal hotline to the Almighty. Which, however, isn’t unfortunately necessarily to Almighty, but possibly just to another part of his own mind. Still, he’s convinced, anyway. He has the sort of countenance and demeanour which would have him personally run in front of a train to save a stranded child or send a million people to their deaths and not bat an eyelid.

      2. Crazy Horse

        As a child of the eighties I learned long ago that the only way to view US political circus acts is to turn off the sound and take acid. Once the horrible visions of corpuscular politicians segue into something bearable, crank up the Grateful Dead live at Renaissance Fair where Jerry Garcia played Dark Star for three continuous hours. When you come down your horrible political visions will be erased.

      1. Robert Gray

        Ever notice how many Emily Dickinson poems can be sung to the tune of ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’? :-)

        1. carl

          Yes! We had an enjoyable afternoon in one of my undergrad English classes singing all those poems.

  39. fresno dan

    People, I love you, but you really got to get a life – watching buckets of warm spit debating???
    Please, just switch to a station not broadcasting and watch static – at least you won’t hear any lies and it will probably be better for your blood pressure….

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Me, I’m of the “they did it[,] so we didn’t have to” school. Thanks to every one of you “theys” for this one.

    1. Acacia

      Thanks for the Halper/Taibbi/Frank YT link. Much needed! And I just learned from Frank that he once rather admired Mike Pence, or at least Pence’s alter-ego, Race Bannon from ‘Jonny Quest’. ;)

  40. UserFriendly

    I’m picturing Harris walking out as the debate starts, then spraying down her side of the plexiglass with Purell and wiping it with a cloth.

    It’s not Hillary’s server.

  41. UserFriendly

    I normally listen to things at somewhere between 2X to 2.5X. These debates are so stupid, slow, and content free I literally can’t stand to listen at anything slower than 4X and I still had to pause it twice to do something else it was so bad.

  42. John A

    These debates are meaningless in terms of actually determining the victor. I did not watch any, not a voter nor a resident. Reading media this morning, the Guardian, still the distraught keeper of the St Hillary flame and would be whipper of evil-doer Putin, declared ‘Harris wiped the floor with Pence’. More right leaning media declare ‘Pence wiped the floor with Harris’. N’e’re the twain shall meet, clearly.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      That is a scary thought – did the fly decide the winner by landing on the choicest turd ?

      1. Edmund Boys

        Scary, indeed! The Presidential debate equivalent of those match-picking animals that pop up during the World Cup every four years, perhaps?

    2. Oso_in_Oakland

      Lambert “two fighters on the undercard ” classic lol. “crowd chaser” might be analogous, 4 rounder following the main event back in the day.

  43. JacobiteInTraining

    Glad to see confirmation here that I missed nothing of worth.

    Didn’t watch the debates as I had no alcohol in the house and it seems as if only well-lubricated brain cells could have possibly coped. Weed is legal here, but since I never smoke it around the kids, I didn’t have that option either. Soooooo….

    Instead of taking the decline and fall in real-time I felt i should rewind back in time. I watched episode 7 of ‘Fall of Civilizations’ take on the Songhai Empire. If one is into history, that’s actually a pretty good series:

    Previous episodes also pretty good if anyone is looking for some binge watching fare. If my long-standing dream of the birth of Cascadia doesn’t work out, I’m thinking of recruiting a bunch of folks and getting the Sea Peoples back together for another blockbuster tour….

  44. peon

    I don’t usually donate money as I am a retired farmer living on social security but Naked Capitalism keeps me sane and hopeful in a depressing world. It is not much but I sent my $50.
    When I read the comments on NC I realize there are many people all over the US who see reality the way I do. Listening to NPR, reading the NYTimes, BBC, etc can make you feel very lonely and isolated in your analysis of events. Then I visit Naked Capitalism and am refreshed and renewed as I realize there is a community of people all over the world that can still think and sort through the noise and give a clear account of what is transpiring. I especially appreciate the live blogging of the debates; it spares me having to listen to the insanity. Thank you all.

  45. drumlin woodchuckles

    A longing for the better days of League of Women Voters debates has been expressed up thread.

    In this modern age of You Tube and/or Podcasts and etc., has the League of Women Voters thought of starting a You Tube channel for hosting League of Women Voters debates in the ancient and traditional format? They could host it and You Tubalize it for not much money. Those candidates who wished to show up on it could do so. If word spread, more people might start watching it.

    If millions of people could be proven to be watching, then it would no longer be safe for Brand Name candidates to avoid going on them. And the League Moderator could use any and all means to enforce obedience to the ancient and traditional format. Leaving all mikes default-cut-off except for the mike working at any one time for the relevant candidate at each any-one-time. And once that candidate’s time is up at that time, the mike and the camera both go dead and black instantly. That way, interruption attempts will disappear into the Great Void, and the viewers will get to see a true L of W V debate.

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