Plexiglass Shield Will Be Installed for VP Debate

Pence team mocks Harris over request
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2020 6:10 PM CDT
Plexiglass Will Separate Harris, Pence at Debate
A television broadcasts news on the coronavirus pandemic as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate in a press filing center at the University of Utah, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

There's going to be an extra level of protection between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris during Wednesday night's vice presidential debate, insiders tell Politico. In a plan supported by the Cleveland Clinic, which is advising the debates on COVID-19 precautions, there will be a plexiglass barrier separating the candidates from each other and from moderator Susan Page, the sources say. The AP, citing "a campaign aide with knowledge of the request," reports that the Biden-Harris campaign asked for the shield for the Salt Lake City debate, and the request was granted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

In discussions, Pence's team opposed the shield, according to Politico's sources. "If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it," Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller said Monday. The debate commission had already decided to put the candidates 13 feet apart instead of seven after President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Joe Biden has said he's open to using plexiglass shields at the Oct. 15 debate with Trump, if the president is well enough to attend, the Hill reports. "I'm not an expert on it but I think we should be very cautious," Biden said. Sources tell CNN that the commission is looking into the possibility of making two remaining Biden-Trump debates virtual. (The CDC said Monday that people can be infected from farther than 6 feet away.)

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