Mike Pence, Kamala Harris all set for vice-presidential debate Wednesday

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Washington:  Vice President Mike Pence and his Democratic challenger Senator Kamala Harris are all set for a debate in the Sal Lake City of Utah Wednesday.

This will be for the first time in the American history that an Indian origin person will be taking up the podium for a vice presidential debate. Political analysts believe that an aggressive Harris, 55, will easily prevail over Pence, 61, during the only vice-presidential debate and help her running mate Joe Biden, 77, to widen his lead over Trump, 74.

Biden, in the last few days, has widened his lead over Trump by double digit.  However, the Trump Campaign believes that Pence could come out with a stellar performance during the debate.

The debate gains added significance, given the COVID-19 infecting Trump, triggering speculations that Pence may be taking over the reigns of the country temporarily.

Also, many believe that Harris will be the real force in a Biden administration.

Both Pence and Harris has said that they are well prepared for the debate, which would be moderated by journalist Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today.

According to media reports, plexiglass will be installed between Pence and Harris on the debate stage.

“The debates are a crucial part of making our democracy work and I am honored to participate,” Page said in a statement.

The debate will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each, said the Commission on Presidential Debate.  The moderator will ask an opening question after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond.

The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic, it said.

“We’re looking very much forward to the vice-presidential debate,” Pence told reporters at the Andrews Joint Air Force Base here.

“The stakes in this election have never been higher, the choice has never been clearer, and I look forward to the opportunity to take our case to the American people for four more years for President Donald Trump in the White House,” he said.

Pence spoke over the phone with Trump before boarding Air Force Two.  “I spoke to the President a little while back and he sounded great.  As the American people learned just a little while ago, President Trump is going home tonight. So, we’re headed to Utah for the vice presidential debate,” Pence said.

According to his aides, Pence has some debate preparations. Harris is already in Utah. Sunday Harris toured This Is The Place Monument, the location marking the end of the 1,300-mile trek to Utah by the early Mormons.  Harris was led by former Utah State Senator Scott Howell on the tour of the monument, which was erected in 1847 and also honors the Native Americans, Mountain Men and Spanish Catholic priests who explored the land before the settlement was established.

“Vice-presidential debates can often be afterthoughts in a presidential race. But with President Trump in the hospital, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will now face an unusual amount of scrutiny and a tricky balancing act,” The New York Times wrote.

Former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said it would be a real mistake to underestimate the skills of Pence. Buttigieg is apparently helping Harris in debate preparations.

“He was very effective in 2016. And also in his debates, if you look in 2012, when he was running for governor, it would be a real mistake to underestimate.

Largely because he doesn’t seem to have any qualms about defending what many of us would consider indefensible, even if it flies in the face of his own professed values,” he told Indianapolis Monthly in an interview.

PTI 

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