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Watch the VP debate live: Virus response on stage with Pence, Harris

The handling of the pandemic and President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis will be almost literally be center stage in Wednesday night's vice presidential debate.

Posted: Oct 6, 2020 7:24 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2020 8:14 PM

Mike Pence and Kamala Harris do not have a tough act to follow.

The vice presidential debate set for Wednesday night follows the disorderly prime-time spectacle last week that had viewers of President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden’s matchup bemoaning the moderator’s inability to shut off a candidate’s microphone.

As vice president Pence has worked to level Trump’s roughshod style and steer his response to the coronavirus pandemic. He will face a U.S. senator known for sharp questioning who has made it clear she wants to invoke her prosecutorial chops on the debate stage.

The handling of the pandemic and the contraction of COVID-19 by the president, along with several others in the White House, will almost literally be center stage. Pence and Harris are expected to be separated by a plexiglass shield to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

The debate starting at 9 p.m. EDT at the University of Utah is the only matchup scheduled between Pence and Harris.

What to watch:

COVID-19

Expect Pence and Harris to have starkly different assessments of the way the Trump administration has responded to the virus that’s killed more than 210,000 Americans. Pence has led the White House’s coronavirus task force, taking a high-profile spot at White House briefings, projecting an aura of calm and empathy rarely made by his boss. Harris, the former California attorney general, is likely to cross-examine Pence on the early response to the virus, the Trump campaign’s decision to resume holding large rallies and the president’s frequently cavalier attitude toward the disease.

RACE

Before Harris became the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket, she had one of her most striking moments in the Democratic presidential primary when she questioned Biden for once opposing the federally mandated busing of students to desegregated schools. As she faces off with Pence, who is white, expect her to address Trump’s comments at the last debate where he demurred when was asked to condemn white supremacy, along with his remark that there were “very fine people” on both sides of a 2017 protest by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a counterprotester was killed.

SUPREME COURT FALLOUT

The GOP’s push to quickly fill a Supreme Court seat once held by the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg could energize voters who see abortion, health care and other major issues on the line. Pence has emphasized his conservative Christian beliefs and anti-abortion stance on the campaign trail and portrayed Democrats as a threat to religious freedom. Harris, a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, set to hold a hearing on Trump’s nominee, has been a staunch defender of abortion rights. A statement this week from two conservative justices raised new criticism of the court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and suggested the court needs to revisit the decision. The move underlines liberals’ fears and conservatives’ excitement about the potential reshaping of the court. Harris has been a staunch defender of same-sex marriage. Pence, as Indiana governor in 2015, drew national attention for signing a law that allowed business owners to deny service to gay people for religious reasons.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Pence is considered a potential successor to Trump and a likely 2024 presidential candidate. He brings executive experience as Indiana governor and vice president and would instantly be a leading contender if he jumps into the GOP race. Harris has only elevated her profile since joining the Biden ticket and is expected to mount another run for the presidency in the future. That could come as soon as 2024 as Biden hasn’t committed to running for a second term if he wins this year. Look for whether Pence and Harris set the stage for their own political ambitions.

GENDER DYNAMICS

Unlike the last debate, with two men and a male moderator, Wednesday’s debate features Harris, the fourth woman to ever appear on a major party’s presidential ticket, and a female moderator in Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today. The Trump-Pence campaign is working to make inroads with female voters and suburban women in particular. Harris has made her own appeal on the campaign trail, telling voters that a Supreme Court challenge to the national health care law could end insurance coverage for birth control and enable insurers to treat pregnancy as a preexisting condition.

SAFETY MEASURES

Though Pence has not tested positive for COVID-19, his recent exposure to people who have led the Biden-Harris campaign to request a see-through barrier separating the candidates as a precaution against possible transmission. They will also be stationed more than 12 feet apart. Don’t expect them to wear masks or shake hands. As with the previous debate, they’re expected to have a limited in-person audience.

TRUMP

Though the president won’t be on the debate stage, he’s resumed his frequent Twitter habit since returning to the White House on Monday after spending three days in a military hospital for COVID-19 treatment. The president, an avid cable TV news viewer, may chime in via tweet as the debate unfolds.

HOW TO WATCH:

The 90-minute debate will be divided into nine 10-minute segments without commercial breaks. It will be aired on major networks and cable news channels, including CBS.

Slug: AP-US-Election-2020-Debate-Viewers-Guide, 1st Ld-Writethru
Headline: Viewer's Guide: Virus response on stage with Pence, Harris
Source: AP
Byline: By MICHELLE L. PRICE
Notes: Eds: UPDATES: Minor edits. With AP Photos.
Copyright: AP
Words: 943
Photo (1)1 of 1

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Members of the production crew work on the stage near plexiglass barriers which will serve as a way to protect the spread of COVID-19 as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Salt Lake City. The vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is scheduled for Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304023

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin641421113
Ramsey27059502
Anoka21526225
Dakota21268190
Washington13529113
Stearns13524108
St. Louis8433108
Scott820154
Wright746139
Olmsted653534
Sherburne570941
Clay483956
Carver455913
Blue Earth405214
Rice403136
Kandiyohi396821
Crow Wing353431
Nobles304929
Chisago304410
Otter Tail300522
Benton293348
Winona273730
Mower257423
Douglas250735
Polk248923
Morrison228029
Lyon213411
Beltrami211917
McLeod205011
Becker199815
Goodhue196728
Steele19137
Itasca185523
Isanti184917
Todd178413
Carlton177715
Nicollet158725
Freeborn15125
Mille Lacs149931
Le Sueur144911
Cass138610
Waseca137811
Brown136415
Pine13138
Meeker12398
Roseau11454
Hubbard111924
Martin111220
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Chippewa8527
Dodge8380
Cottonwood8333
Watonwan8334
Renville83124
Wadena7736
Sibley7724
Rock7569
Aitkin75529
Pipestone71018
Houston6854
Fillmore6770
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Pennington6277
Kanabec59613
Murray5783
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Pope5281
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Clearwater5058
Jackson4841
Marshall4758
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Koochiching3855
Wilkin3715
Unassigned36759
Lac qui Parle3613
Lincoln3511
Norman3417
Big Stone3072
Mahnomen2904
Grant2726
Kittson2138
Red Lake2053
Traverse1461
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Cook660

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 225897

Reported Deaths: 2345
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33451334
Linn14206164
Scott1116385
Black Hawk10849134
Woodbury10323124
Johnson948636
Dubuque918291
Story677621
Dallas633657
Pottawattamie624570
Sioux369125
Webster357833
Cerro Gordo351544
Marshall347846
Clinton327540
Buena Vista304114
Des Moines287920
Muscatine286468
Warren279611
Plymouth274242
Wapello255071
Jones229813
Jasper217443
Marion204320
Lee202217
Carroll197322
Bremer194212
Henry18227
Crawford174316
Benton169519
Tama153840
Jackson144313
Delaware143221
Washington140214
Dickinson138210
Boone136311
Mahaska126727
Wright12336
Clay11714
Buchanan116410
Hardin115010
Page11294
Clayton11105
Hamilton11059
Cedar107413
Harrison106729
Calhoun10617
Kossuth10566
Floyd104116
Mills10407
Fayette103310
Lyon10268
Butler10116
Poweshiek98913
Winneshiek96212
Iowa94612
Winnebago91723
Hancock8607
Louisa85816
Sac8578
Grundy85611
Chickasaw8494
Cherokee8374
Cass80823
Allamakee79911
Mitchell7884
Appanoose78710
Humboldt7695
Union7676
Shelby76211
Emmet76024
Guthrie75215
Franklin73521
Jefferson7112
Madison6804
Unassigned6620
Palo Alto6514
Keokuk5967
Pocahontas5574
Howard5529
Greene5220
Osceola5211
Ida48713
Clarke4824
Taylor4643
Montgomery46211
Davis4619
Monroe44312
Adair4408
Monona4332
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