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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 BookerOfficials brace for second Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Booker: It would be 'constitutionally dangerous' not to conduct full Trump impeachment trial 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 HarrisSenate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks Empire State Building lights on eve of Biden inauguration to honor COVID-19 victims READ: Harris letter resigning from Senate ahead of inauguration 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 BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE’s campaign. 

Symone SandersSymone Sanders7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Harris taps women of color for key senior staff positions 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 PenceGOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party Video from inside Capitol siege shows rioters confronting police, rifling through Senate desks Author: Meadows is history's worst White House chief of staff 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 TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire 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.”