The New York Post:
- He was always good, terrific at times and put on a clinic in how to methodically carve up an opponent.
- [Harris] came up small when asked what a Biden presidency would do immediately upon taking office, saying it would focus on contact tracing and making vaccines free. Pence practically jumped out of his seat, saying their plan “looks like plagiarism, something Joe Biden knows something about.”
Going into Wednesday’s showdown, Mike Pence had two big jobs. One, to defend the Trump administration’s record, especially its response to the pandemic. Two, convincingly paint the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket as the most radical national nominees a major party has ever put forward.
Mission accomplished. Pence is a skilled and disciplined debater, and his understated manner masks a killer instinct. He was always good, terrific at times and put on a clinic in how to methodically carve up an opponent.
Whether it matters in the big scheme of things is a separate question. Maybe a little, which is to say not nearly enough to change the dynamics of the race.
Pence seemed hesitant initially, but quickly rose to the moment and grew increasingly better at seizing openings and turning around biased questions from moderator Susan Page to go on offense. By the end of the evening, he had clearly won the debate.
He did it by nailing the inconsistencies of Biden’s varying positions on taxes, fracking and fossil fuels in ways that highlighted the ways the Democrats have created a fog about what they would do if they win. After Harris promised that on “Day One, Joe will repeal” the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts, Pence responded: “She just told you, on Day One, Joe Biden’s going to raise your taxes.”
On China, he delivered the hammer, saying: “Joe Biden’s been a cheerleader for Communist China over the last several decades.”
He also succeeded at laying out Harris’ voting record as being “more liberal than Bernie Sanders’.”
For her part, Harris’ best moments came early, on the topic of the coronavirus, which polls show is the Democrats’ ace in the hole. She pressed the attack, calling the White House response the worst failure ever by a president and accused Trump and Pence of knowing about the lethality of the virus and “they covered it up.”