Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris “has taken a whole new character over the last 72 hours,” said Josh Kraushaar, National Journal politics editor and Fox News Radio Political Analyst.
Since Trump’s diagnosis, Pence, who has tested negative for the coronavirus, has stepped up on the campaign trail while also preparing for the upcoming debate.
“He’s in an interesting position,” Kraushaar said. “He’s now playing both a political and an important role as the number two position in charge in Washington.”
He went on to say that he thinks there are “going to be a lot of questions about what he [Pence] knew, when he knew about the president’s health diagnosis and there’s going to be a lot of questions about his readiness to step in if necessary.”
He added that “Vice President Pence has sort of been a secondary player in the whole campaign.
“Now he’s leading the president’s rallies going forward, he’s going to be the person who would step in if there were, God forbid, there was some kind of crisis medically with the president,” he continued, noting that “all of a sudden” people want to know what Pence “brings to the table and what he’s thinking at this very precarious moment.”
Kraushaar also said that Wednesday’s debate will give voters an opportunity to learn more about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.
“Before the news about the president’s COVID diagnosis this was actually going to be a very significant debate because we haven’t heard a whole lot from Senator Kamala Harris ever since she was picked as Joe Biden’s running mate,” Kraushaar said.
“And I think it’s clear that she’s more to the left of where he is and, at times, she’s even contradicted her running mate on where she stands on some of the hot button issues, including issues of policing and law and order.”
Kraushaar went on to say that he doesn’t think the Biden campaign has “utilized” Harris “as aggressively as they otherwise could” thus far. He said that is why he thinks “there are a lot of voters that want to see what Kamala Harris is all about, what her message is, whether she can be in sync with the Biden campaign.”
He acknowledged that Harris, D-Calif., has been “utilized sort of to energize the base.”
“The way Biden’s campaign has utilized her mainly has been to speak to certain constituency groups that are more liberal, that are more activist and so she’s offered a tailored message to those voters,” Kraushaar said.
He added that Harris will be presented with the opportunity to speak to tens of millions of Americans during the debate on Wednesday.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if she kind of broadens her message to be a little more pragmatic or whether she continues to kind of speak to the base as she did during the presidential primary,” Kraushaar said.
Harris and Pence will face off in their highly anticipated debate on Wednesday at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It will be the first and only debate between Pence and Harris before the election on Nov. 3.
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