Home Featured News Viewers react to the Harris v. Pence vice presidential debate

Viewers react to the Harris v. Pence vice presidential debate

Screenshot from the live recording of the Vice Presidential Debate that was held on Oct. 7.

By Collegiate Staff

Reactions were mixed to the Oct. 7 vice presidential debate between Senator Kamala Harris and current Vice President Michael Pence, however, most agreed that it was more civil than last week’s presidential debate.

“When I first went into this, I definitely knew it was going to be a lot more civil than the presidential debate,” said Tony DiMeglio, a freshman at Wayne State University. DiMeglio said he expected Harris “to crush it and prosecute the most dangerous presidential administration in recent history,” but, according to DiMeglio, she didn’t, and that was quite disappointing.

After the first presidential debate, many were left with unanswered questions, and were hoping that this debate may clear them up, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. 

“The questions asked by (Susan) Page were an accurate reflection of the concerns of the public,” said Heather Richards, a political science professor at Grand Rapids Community College. “However, both Senator Harris and Vice President Pence were skilled at dodging the questions and plugging their talking points…”

Both candidates pivoted on certain questions, choosing to speak in response to previous questions or bring up other topics. Many agreed that both candidates failed to answer important questions.

“Although both candidates avoided answering a few questions, I thought Harris walked away the winner tonight,” said Cassandra Tiensivu, 41, of Comstock Park, after the debate. “She spoke with compassion and conviction, and called out the Trump administration on several issues that they have fallen quite short on during the past four years. I learned a bit more about her work history, which was intriguing. As for Pence, he merely perpetuated the lies told by his president. I stand for truth. Therefore, I cannot stand with our current president or his administration.”

DiMeglio disagreed, he believed that Harris didn’t push hard enough in the debate.

“Pence had the ability to eat up the clock,” DiMeglio said, “He was the one talking. He talked over both Kamala Harris and the moderator, and would interject with bashes on packing the courts, and ISIS, and fracking, and those were all very effective.”

Others agreed, saying that Pence’s behavior during the debate was disrespectful.

“While they weren’t shouting at each other like Joe Biden and President Trump, I don’t think that Mike Pence’s behavior was particularly civil as he consistently interrupted and talked over both Kamala Harris and Susan Page,” said Elizabeth Blackwell, 17, of Ann Arbor. “While his behavior was less noticeable than Trump’s it still came across as disrespectful.”

Blackwell thought Harris was the winner of the debate, only due to Pence’s behavior. “I don’t think she was particularly sharp or inspiring, but I think Pence’s weak and evasive answers made her look good by comparison,” Blackwell said.

Others disagreed and favored Pence as the winner.

“I think Mike Pence won the debate no question,” said Liam Nyberg, 18, of Grand Rapids. “Kamala kept making faces the whole time seeming very unprofessional. She also told many lies during the debate. Pence would press her about statements she has made in her past and she just denied it. She also failed to answer any question about packing the Supreme Court. Her performance was just terrible.”

This story was written by Sabrina Edwards, Collegiate Editor-in-Chief, and reported by Mya Gregory, Kennedy Mapes, Annah Johnson, Aspen Strauss, and Chance Vincent