The US Presidential race heated up as vice-president candidates Kamala Harris and Mike Pence went head-to-head in a debate to support Joe Biden and Donald Trump respectively.
When moderator USA Today journalist Susan Page asked about America’s economic recovery, Senator Harris erupted as Vice President Pence tried to speak over her.
In answering the question, Pence claimed when Democratic nominee Joe Biden was vice president, they tried to “tax its way back to a growing economy”.
He claimed President Donald Trump however, cut taxes across the board and despite what Senator Harris said, the average American family of four had US$2000 in savings.
He added that had increased to $4000 following President Trump’s tax cuts before adding Biden would raise taxes.
Senator Harris then shot back that Pence’s argument wasn’t based on facts.
“We saw enough of it in last week’s debate but I think this is supposed to be a debate based on fact and truth,” she said.
“The truth is that Joe Biden has been very clear, he will not raise taxes on anybody who makes less than $400,000 a year.”
As Pence tried to interrupt, Senator Harris hit back, “Mr Vice President, I’m speaking.”
“You said truth?” Pence continued.
“Joe Biden said twice in the debate last week that he is going to repeal the Trump tax cuts ... tax cuts that give the average working family $US2000 in a tax break every single year.”
Senator Harris shot back, “That is absolutely not true”.
“If you don’t mind letting me finish, we can have a conversation, OK? OK. Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year, he has been very clear about that,” she added.
“Joe Biden will not end fracking, he has been very clear about that. Joe Biden is the one who, during the great recession, was responsible for the recovery act that brought America back and now the Trump-Pence administration wants to take credit when they rode the coattails of Joe Biden’s success for the economy that they had at the beginning of their term.
“You have Donald Trump who has reigned over a recession that is being compared to the great depression.
“On the one hand you have Joe Biden, who was responsible with President Barack Obama for the Affordable Care Act, which brought healthcare to over 20 million Americans and protected people with pre-existing conditions.
“On the other hand, you have Donald Trump who is in court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which means that you will lose protections if you have pre-existing conditions and this is very important.”
As the moderator tried to throw to Pence for a response, Senator Harris said: “He interrupted me and I’d like to finish.”
She then said the Republicans “were coming for” people with pre-existing health conditions.
Harris and Pence clash over racism in the US
Pence and Senator Harris clashed over race during the debate, speaking of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers.
Pence said his heart broke for the innocent American lives lost but said he trusted the justice system.
“There’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd. Justice will be served,” he said.
“But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed.”
He spoke of a woman’s salon that had been burned to the ground and how she was still trying to put her life back together.
Pence also hit out at Biden and Senator Harris for suggesting America was systematically racist.
“I want everyone who puts on the uniform of law enforcement every day, President Trump and I stand with you,” he said.
“We will stand with law enforcement and we will improve the lives of African Americans.”
Senator Harris responded, saying President Trump called Mexicans rapists and criminals.
During a peaceful protest for racial justice in Charlottesville, neo-Nazis were seen carrying torches and shouting anti-Semitic slurs.
Senator Harris criticised Trump for saying,”They were fine people on both sides”.
“This is who you have as the President of the United States of America. You deserve better.”
Pence savaged over handling of coronavirus
Senator Harris attacked the US Vice President for the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic during their only debate, as the White House struggles to contain an outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and dozens of others.
"The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country," Senator Harris said as the debate began, with the two candidates separated by 3.5m and plexiglass shields on a stage at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
In response, Pence defended the US administration's efforts to battle the disease, including Trump's decision in late January to restrict travel from the pandemic's epicentre in China.
"I want the American people to know that from the very first day President Donald Trump has put the health of America first," he said.
Pence offered praise for the American people, arguing that Senator Harris was discounting the sacrifices they had made.
"The American people have had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration," Senator Harris retorted.
The outbreak has killed more than 210,000 Americans and battered the US economy.
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