A fly rests on the pinnacle of Mike Pence as he takes notes throughout the vice presidential debate.

Wednesday night time’s matchup between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Senator Kamala Harris opened with out the fireworks that marred final week’s chaotic debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

However Trump’s COVID-19 an infection, and his and Biden’s superior age, made it maybe essentially the most consequential US vice presidential debate in dwelling reminiscence.

Listed here are a couple of standout moments from the talk:

PACKING THE COURT?

Annoyed that Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate could quickly cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Courtroom, some on the left have known as on Biden to increase the nine-member courtroom to 11 or 13 seats. Harris declined to say whether or not she supported that concept.

Looking for to push that concept, Pence posed questions on Biden’s and Harris’ plans, which he additionally answered for her: “The straight reply is they’re going to pack the Supreme Courtroom in the event that they by some means win this election.”

POLICY TO THE FORE

The comparatively sedate environment allowed stark coverage variations to return to the fore.

On international warming, for instance, Pence declined to say that it was attributable to human exercise – the overwhelming scientific consensus – and stated Biden’s proposed fixes can be too costly.

He additionally inaccurately stated that Biden would ban hydraulic fracturing. Biden, actually, has stated repeatedly he wouldn’t pursue a fracking ban, though he would oppose new permits for drilling on federal land. It’s a key problem in electoral backgrounds like western Pennsylvania and jap Ohio, the place the approach has led to a growth in vitality manufacturing over the previous decade.

A FLY IN THE OINTMENT

Pence’s left eye was noticeably bloodshot for a lot of the talk. Greater than an hour in, a black housefly sat for a number of minutes on Pence’s white hair, hanging on as he shook his head and parried with Harris over race and legal justice. The hashtag #fly2024 surfaced on Twitter.

“Three debaters are actually on the stage: Harris, Pence, and a really political fly that has nested within the Veep’s head,” Larry Sabato, director of the College of Virginia’s Heart for Politics, wrote on Twitter.

COLORING INSIDE THE LINES

Following final week’s chaotic, insult-laden debate between Biden and Trump, moderator Susan Web page warned each candidates that she would strictly implement guidelines designed to make sure decorum. “We would like a debate that’s full of life. However Individuals additionally deserve a dialogue that’s civil,” she stated.

Pence opened by saying it was a “privilege” to be on stage with Harris – even after she stated the administration’s coronavirus response was “the best failure of any presidential administration within the historical past of our nation.”

Issues ultimately heated up, however solely to a simmer, not a boil. Pence repeatedly interrupted Harris and the moderator, leaving Harris to plead: “Mr. Vice President, I am talking.”

SPEAK NOT OF THE AGED

In 2008, when he was Barack Obama’s working mate, Biden stated that “nobody decides who they’ll vote for primarily based on the vp.” But this debate has outsized significance.

Biden, 77, can be the oldest president in US historical past if he have been to win the election, and he has hinted he may solely serve one time period.

Trump, solely barely youthful at 74, spent the weekend at a navy hospital exterior Washington after contracting the novel coronavirus.

From purely an actuarial standpoint, Pence, 61, and Harris, 55, can be extra more likely to step into the presidency than different vice presidential candidates.

Pence additionally carries an extra burden as he has been tasked with campaigning for the ticket as Trump has been sidelined due to his COVID-19 an infection.

But each candidates prevented the subject.

When requested whether or not they had a agency plan of succession in place, Pence used his time to speak about vaccines, whereas Harris talked up her biography as a toddler of immigrants who went on to function California legal professional basic.

Likewise, neither answered immediately when requested why their aged working mates had not launched detailed well being data. Pence thanked those that had wished for Trump’s restoration, whereas Harris criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns.

DINGING BIDEN ON PLAGIARISM

Candidates usually present up with a quiver of ready one-liners, and Pence loosed one early.

He accused Biden of copying the Trump administration’s plan to combat the coronavirus, dredging up fees of plagiarism that helped sink Biden’s first presidential run in 1988.

“It appears somewhat bit like plagiarism, which is one thing Joe Biden is aware of somewhat bit about,” he stated.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)