Pence Is Steady in Debate But Fails to Knock Harris Off Course

Pence Is Steady in Debate But Fails to Knock Harris Off Course

Vice President Mike Pence’s job Wednesday night was to seem reasonable and reassuring after days of uncertainty stoked by President Donald Trump, who shook voters with his own combative debate performance last week and then alarmed the nation with his positive test for coronavirus.

By that measure, then, Pence’s debate performance with his Democratic opponent Kamala Harris achieved its goal.

Harris landed her toughest attack of the night in the debate’s opening minutes — calling Trump’s handling of the virus “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.” Pence sought to defend the administration’s coronavirus response with a selective retelling of key facts, leaning heavily on Trump’s decision to ban travel from China even as the death toll recently hit 212,000.