Mike Pence-Kamala Harris debate: 12 best lines from each candidate

While there were plenty of interruptions Wednesday night and both candidates regularly talked past their time limits, the debate between Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris was far less chaotic than the one between their bosses last month.

Susan Page of USA Today moderated the debate and opened the evening by saying, “Americans deserve an exchange that is civil.”

The candidates appeared on stage just over 12 feet apart and separated by plexiglass barriers. Both candidates released updated coronavirus test results ahead of the debate proving they were negative as of Tuesday. The candidates debated in an auditorium where any guest who refused to wear a face mask was to be asked to leave.

Pence and Harris sparred vigorously over the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans, Pence defending President Donald Trump’s efforts while his Democratic challenger condemned them as “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.”

Here are 12 of the candidates’ most memorable lines from Wednesday night’s debate:


  • “On day one, Joe Biden’s going to raise your taxes.”
  • “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want to raise taxes - they want to bury our economy.”
  • “Senator, I ask you: Stop playing politics with peoples' lives,”
  • “Joe Biden said twice in the debate last week that he’s going to repeal the Trump tax cuts.”
  • “Lost the trade war with China? Biden’s never fought it. Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for communist China for the last several decades.”
  • On the coronavirus: From the very first day, President Trump has put the health of the American people first.”
  • “The American people have a right to know about the health and well-being of their president and we’ll continue to do that.”
  • “We don’t need a massive $2 trillion Green New Deal.”
  • “You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.”
  • “History shows the Joe Biden opposed the raid on Osama Bin Laden.”
  • On Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination: “Unlike Justice Kavanaugh received in his hearing from YOU and others, we hope she gets a fair hearing.”
  • “China is to blame for the coronavirus.”


  • “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any administration in the history of this country.”
  • “This administration has forfeited their right to re-election.”
  • China trade war: “You lost that trade war. You lost it.... Americans lost 3 million manufacturing jobs.”
  • “Mister Vice President, I’m speaking.”
  • “You respect the American people when you tell them the truth.”
  • “He interrupted me and I’d like to finish. Please.”
  • On health care: “If you have a preexisting condition, they are coming for you.”
  • “There was a time our country believed in science.”
  • “We have seen a pattern with this administration, which is, they don’t believe in science.”
  • On Trump’s taxes: “It’d be really good to know who the president owes money to.”
  • “The one thing we know about Joe, he puts it all out there. He is honest, he is forthright. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has been about covering up everything.”
  • On coronavirus vaccines: “If Dr. Fauci, the doctors, tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it.”