Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris are all set to square off on the debate stage Wednesday night. The 90-minute debate will take place at 9 pm ET at the University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. The prime time debate comes at a point where the coronavirus has reemerged as the leading issue after President Donald Trump’s hospitalization.Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and Vice President Mike Pence’s possible exposure are bringing extra scrutiny to the already highly anticipated showdown between VP Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, the running mates of President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden will take extra coronavirus precautions for the face-off.
The candidates will sit just over 12 feet apart, as opposed to the original 7 feet that had been planned. A pair of plexiglass barriers will separate the two and there will be no opening or closing statements by the participants. Pence and Harris will each be seated behind a desk, unlike the presidential debate. As was the case with the presidential debate, the candidates will be tested ahead of time and won’t shake hands.
For the audience witnessing it live, there will be “a small number of ticketed guests” who will be tested before the debate, but they will be escorted out if they do not wear masks during the event.The format of the debate will be similar to the widely panned first presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden. It will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each, and there will be no commercial breaks, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Unlike the presidential debate, topics are not being disclosed ahead of time.
Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief, will moderate. Page has covered six presidential administrations and 10 presidential elections.The moderator will ask an opening question to Pence first, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond, the commission said. Page will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.Page will be seated 12 feet away from the candidates as well.