The Hill's 12:30 Report: Campaigns react to virtual debate announcement

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*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Second presidential debate will be virtual |  Trump says he will not participate |  Calls Harris a ‘monster’ in morning interview |  Biden agrees to going virtual |  Debate takeaways |  Sights and sounds |  Fly on Pence’s head goes viral |  Campaign sells fly swatters |  DC apartment building with speakeasy, bowling alley



I can’t think of a more fitting, symbolic end to the 2020 campaign season — a Zoom presidential debate:



The Commission on Presidential Debates announced this morning that next week’s second debate between President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be virtual. https://bit.ly/3jJ3aFU

Why: “to protect the health and safety of all involved.”


President Trump called into Fox Business this morning, announcing that he will not participate in a virtual debate. https://bit.ly/30IsUuU

In Trump’s words: “I’m not going to waste my time with a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about. You sit behind a computer and do a debate, that is ridiculous.” https://bit.ly/30IsUuU 

Trump’s reasoning: “They are trying to protect Biden.” 

Yes, but keep in mindPresident Trump recently tested positive — and was hospitalized — for COVID-19.

Watch Trump’s full response to a virtual debatehttps://bit.ly/3lqT90J


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has agreed to the virtual debate. https://cnn.it/30LMkPi 

Via CNN’s Dan Merica, here’s a statement from the Biden campaign: "Vice President BidenJoe BidenHoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears MORE looks forward to speaking directly to the American people and comparing his plan for bringing the country together and building back better with Donald Trump's failed leadership on the coronavirus that has thrown the strong economy he inherited into the worst downturn since the Great Depression."


Trump called Harris a ‘monster’: “This monster that was on stage with Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court's blow to Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - COVID-19 rescue bill a unity test for Dems MORE, who destroyed her last night, by the way. This monster, she says, ‘no no, there won’t be fracking,’ there won’t be this. Everything she said is a lie.” 

It’s Thursday! We’re almost there! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Well, that debate was so much ... quieter:

Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCollins: Biden's .9T coronavirus package won't get any Senate GOP votes House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill Biden's immigration bill could wreck his majority, but Democrats have opportunity to do the right thing MORE (D-Calif.) faced off in a much different debate than last week’s WWE Tuesday Night SmackDown.


  1. Harris hit her goals— “It wasn’t a perfect performance … but, overall, Harris scored a win, when all she needed was to avoid a clear defeat.” 
  2. Pence did his job— “[Pence] is an infinitely more orthodox politician than Trump, and he showed this.” 
  3. Whole lotta dodging going on— “The two candidates dodged a lot of questions and did not really face any significant ramifications for doing so.” 
  4. The fly won— “There was no question about the most viral moment of the night.”
  5. No game changer— “Neither candidate scored a knock-out. Neither committed a career-defining gaffe.” 


Details for each takeawayhttps://bit.ly/2SC9yTx


View from inside the roomhttps://bit.ly/3nCyysn 

Why yes, yes it does: “it looks like they're on jeopardy” (from BuzzFeed’s Katherine Millerhttps://bit.ly/3jJojQC 

Which American flag pin do you like better?https://bit.ly/3ludjXN

Just imagine Kamala Harris in last week’s debate: A talked-about moment of the night is when Harris raised her voice and said, “I’m speaking” to Pence. Watchhttps://bit.ly/3lptfub 

That LOOKhttps://bit.ly/3nv10fG 

Tidbit: “Pence [congratulated] Harris on the ‘historic nature’ of her VP nomination. (Trump has not once remarked on the historic nature of the pick, instead attacking Harris with racist & sexist tropes right out the gate).” (Via CNN’s Jeremy Diamondhttps://bit.ly/3nx4Rsk

Yes.: The Washington Post’s Matt Viser noticed, “It seems pretty clear that neither Mike Pence nor Kamala Harris wants to talk too much in depth about the health records of the septuagenarians at the top of their tickets.” https://bit.ly/36EYltM 

Pence said the Rose Garden event was strictly outdoors: Here’s a photo of the indoor portion: https://bit.ly/2HZw2f9

Welp, this was the gist of the debate: “Question: How are you going to protect pre-existing conditions, Mr. VP? 

Pence: The Democrats are going to pack the Supreme Court 

Harris: Trump hasn't appointed one black person to the circuit courts” (from NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell) https://bit.ly/3luIoKV 

Also this: “Susan Page: Insightful question

Candidate: That’s a great question. Please allow me to answer it with a different answer I’ve memorized.” (from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tal Kopanhttps://bit.ly/36EYMEq

Ahh, well played:  




We all knew this was bound to happen: The fly has its own Twitter account now… 




Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2SDs2mB


Hahaha, that is not where I expected this video to go: 






From journalist Megyn Kelly: “Pence is so much better than Trump at defending Trump.” https://bit.ly/3nxG6MC

From Politico’s John Bresnahan: “Susan Page’s questions are excellent.” https://bit.ly/3lCQ3Hd

From NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell: “Mike Pence appears to be delivering his prepared points and issues than he wants to be sure are included rather than responding to the question put to him.” https://bit.ly/3nxsjpp 

Lol — From The New York Times’s Taffy Brodesser-Akner: “[Harris] talks to [Pence] the way I talk to my children when I'm angry but someone is watching.” https://bit.ly/34AMTg6

From The Hill’s Reid Wilson: “I worried very much that was going to end with a ‘please say something nice about your opponent.’ Which is and always will be a stupid question.” https://bit.ly/3lnXWQw 

Ughhhh, yep — from NBC’s Benjy Sarlin: “Oh god, the fly is going to be like some pandemic metaphor in the writeups isn't it.” https://bit.ly/3nrFhVH


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/36LpOtM

Never missing an opportunity: The Biden campaign quickly sold out of “Truth Over Flies” fly swatters. Photo:  https://bit.ly/2GHRxAB


Hey, they’re naked!:

Via The Hill’s Judy Kurtz, “Celebrities including Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer are stripping down for a revealing new public service announcement (PSA) aimed at raising awareness about so-called naked ballots.” The videohttps://bit.ly/36J60av




Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 7,555,437 

U.S. death toll: 211,917 

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y


By the way:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3iJOl4K


The House and Senate are out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence is in Nevada and Arizona today. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are campaigning in Arizona.

President Trump has no public events scheduled.

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget Pence announces post-White House office, plans to move back to Indiana Harris move into vice president's residence delayed MORE left Salt Lake City, Utah en route to Las Vegas. 

1:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a campaign rally in Boulder City, Nev.

4:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence meet with the parents of Kayla Mueller in Phoenix. 

11:40 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence land in Washington, D.C.


This morning: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings Curator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line MORE (D-Calif.) held her weekly press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2SE8FKc

2:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a campaign rally in Peoria, Ariz. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/36LL2b8

5 p.m. EDT: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) campaign in Arizona. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/30KqmfE


Today is National Fluffernutter Day and National Pierogi Day!

Perfect for that PaNdEmIc LiFeStYlE!:

Via WJLA-TV, a new apartment building in Washington, D.C., offers a bowling alley, a speakeasy, a residents-only Equinox gym with basketball court and 5,000 square feet of space to work from home. Photos and details:https://bit.ly/3no4aSa

And because you made it this far, here’s a bunny learning to drink water: https://bit.ly/2HZTrNx