It’s Mike Pence and Kamala Harris’ debate, and moderator Susan Page is just along for the ride.
After last week’s disastrous presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, Page undoubtedly knew she had her work cut out for her, having to manage two campaigns that have demonstrated they have no qualms about bulldozing a moderator in a debate in order to get their points across. Nevertheless, her strategy of cutting Pence and Harris off with increasingly insistent “thank yous” wasn’t working on Wednesday night — prompting her to halt the whole debate to scold both candidates.
Harris and Pence were in the middle of a heated back-and-forth about the military when Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, attempted to pivot to a new topic. But Pence wanted to get a last word in. “I’m sorry vice president, but you’ve had more time than she has,” Page said, trying to cut him off.
When Pence continued talking, Page lost her patience. “I did not create the rules for tonight,” she snapped. “Your campaigns agreed to the rules for tonight’s debate with the Commission of Presidential Debates. I am here to enforce them, which involves moving from one topic to another, giving roughly equal time to both of you, which is what I’m trying very hard to do.”