The vice presidential debate likely changed few minds but instead reinforced the candidates' standings, which is very bad for Trump, who falling farther and farther behind.
Harris' advisers studied research about the different ways men and women are judged in public speaking. The former California attorney general repeatedly stood up for herself:
Takeaways from White House editor Margaret Talev and other Axios journalists:
- "Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking. Kay?"
- "I will not sit here and be lectured by the vice president on what it means to enforce the laws of our country. I am the only one on this stage who has personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assault to homicide."
The bottom line: It was more polite than Trump vs. Biden. But we didn't learn a lot more.
- No daylight between Pence and Trump: Pence gave credit to Trump's leadership several times, and defended the largely mask-less Rose Garden event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Pence said it was an outdoor event, with many attendees tested for coronavirus, then added: "President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health."
- Harris didn't rule out trying to add justices to the Supreme Court. Pence said: "The straight answer is: They are going to pack the Supreme Court if they somehow win this election."
- Both Pence and Harris dodged efforts to pin down unknown positions, from China to climate change.
- Both ignored a question about whether they have had a conversation with Trump or Biden about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability.
More Americans said Sen. Kamala Harris did the best job in the vice presidential debate Wednesday night, according to a CNN Instant Poll of registered voters who watched. About 6 in 10 (59%) said Harris won, while 38% said Vice President Mike Pence had the better night.
Harris did improve her favorability rating among those who watched, according to the poll, while for Pence, the debate was a wash. In pre-debate interviews, 56% said they had a positive view of Harris -- that rose to 63% after the debate. For Pence, his favorability stood at 41% in both pre- and post-debate interviews.