Pence, Harris dodge question on the ages of their running mates


Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Wednesday ignored questions about the ages of their running mates and whether they’d discuss safeguards should President Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s health decline.

Moderator Susan Page noted that Trump is 74 and Biden will be 78 come Inauguration Day and that both would be the oldest president to be sworn in on Inauguration Day in January.

“That already has raised concerns among some voters, concerns that have been sharpened by President Trump’s hospitalization in recent days,” she said, referring to Trump’s bout with COVID-19.

The two candidates proceeded to dodge the question.

Pence said he wanted “to go back” to a previous comment from Harris in which she said she would question the safety of a coronavirus vaccine if Trump were the one vouching for it.

“Stop playing politics with people’s lives,” he said.

The vice president then criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the swine flu outbreak in 2009, pointing to comments from Biden aide Ronald Klain that the U.S. was fortunate not to see more deaths.

Page posed the same question to Harris, asking if she and Biden have “had a conversation or reached an agreement about safeguards or procedures when it comes to presidential disability.”

Harris then recounted the day Biden asked her to be his running mate and touted her experience as a former district attorney and as the second Black woman elected to the Senate. 

“Joe and I were raised in a very similar way,” she said. “We were raised with values that are about hard work, about the value and the dignity of public service and about he importance of fighting for the dignity for all people.”

The age of the two candidates atop the ticket has become even more of a focus with Trump contracting COVID-19. The president was hospitalized and required supplemental oxygen over the weekend. At 74, the president is at higher risk for serious complications from the disease. 

Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Monday evening. Since then, he has said he is feeling better, though his doctors say he is not out of the woods yet.

The Trump campaign has openly attempted to sow doubt about Biden’s mental fitness, questioning if he’s physically or mentally sharp enough to take on the rigors of the job.

Tags 2020 vice presidential debate Donald Trump Joe Biden

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