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Booker calls Pence 'a formidable debater' ahead of VP debate

Booker calls Pence 'a formidable debater' ahead of VP debate
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerThousands sent to emergency rooms every year due to violent police encounters: investigation Democrats fear they are running out of time on Biden agenda Harris casts tiebreaking vote to confirm OPM nominee MORE (D-N.J.) acknowledged on Wednesday that Vice President Pence is a “formidable debater” and that the upcoming vice presidential debate between Pence and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRick Scott blocks Senate vote on top cyber nominee until Harris visits border Head of Border Patrol resigning from post Migrant children face alarming conditions in US shelter: BBC investigation MORE (D-Calif.) would be a “challenge.”

“We know that Vice President Pence is a formidable debater and we know that tonight is a challenge,” Booker said on a conference call with reporters hosted by Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE’s campaign. 

Symone SandersSymone SandersHarris discusses voting rights with advocates in South Carolina White House 'looking into' woman claiming to be reporter at Harris press conference Harris's plane forced to return to Andrews after 'technical issue' MORE, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, echoed Booker’s remarks, saying that Harris’s team is not underestimating the vice president’s debate skills. 

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"Tonight we do expect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOn The Money: Biden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction | Yellen pleads with Congress to raise debt ceiling Biden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction If you care about the US, root for China to score a win in space MORE to have a good debate,” Sanders said. “He has a history of being a successful debater, he was a talk show host. So we are not coming in underestimating him.”

The remarks came hours before Pence and Harris meet face-to-face in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the only vice presidential debate of the 2020 campaign. 

Biden campaign officials said Wednesday that Harris would focus on speaking directly to voters about the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Pence’s role as chairman of the federal coronavirus task force. 

Harris will face something of a balancing act during the debate on Wednesday night, however, given President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE’s coronavirus diagnosis last week, which led to him spending three days in the hospital. 

Booker suggested that Harris would not pull any punches when it comes to how Trump and Pence have handled the coronavirus pandemic, but said that she would make it “about the mission and not the person.”

“I know that we have a difficult debater in Mike Pence, but one of the things I love about Kamala is watching her under attack,” Booker said. “She has this powerful way of making it about the mission and not the person.”