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Pence's calm conservatism makes him 'a raft in a sea of torment'

Debra Saunders on

WASHINGTON -- Thursday morning on Fox Business Network, President Donald Trump announced that since the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the Oct. 15 presidential debate would be conducted virtually to guard against the spread of coronavirus, he would skip it.

Of course, shortly after I wrote the above paragraph, the story changed. The Trump campaign called for two live debates, one on Oct. 22 when the third debate was scheduled, and then a new third debate on Oct. 29.

Vice President Joe Biden and his team didn't bite. Instead, they announced that Biden would participate in an ABC Town Hall on Oct. 15 -- a loud slamming of the door to Trump's use of cancelation as a negotiating tool.

In the meantime, Trump's Thursday morning chat trailed mud all over Vice President Mike Pence's shiny performance during the sole vice presidential debate with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in Salt Lake City the night before.

With his no-drama demeanor, Pence showed America how Trump would look if he acted like a politician: like a president.

Like Trump, Pence had media experience before he went to Washington. A talk-radio host in Indiana, Pence used to call himself "Rush Limbaugh on decaf." And because he knows how it's done, Pence showed up in Utah prepared. He knows the best arguments aren't made by winging it.

 

As head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Pence knew moderator Susan Page of USA Today would ask him about the U.S. COVID-19 death toll, a higher rate than the documented COVID-19 deaths in most other wealthy nations.

Harris called the administration response "the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of the country." She did not talk about how her ticket would address the coronavirus if elected.

Pence praised Trump's Jan. 31 decision to ban some travel from China, which he claimed saved countless lives, cited the number of COVID-19 tests -- around 115 million -- that have been administered to Americans and the push to develop a safe vaccine.

Pence also recalled the area that has affected more households than the disease -- the painful decision Trump made to shut down the U.S. economy at the behest of prominent task force figures, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx. It was a sobering reminder of what the job and business losses the country has endured -- and which Trump has sought to move beyond.

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