The plexiglass shields have been put in place onstage where Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will debate for the one and only time Wednesday night.
Reporters tweeted photos of the barriers at the University of Utah's Kingsbury Hall Wednesday morning after Pence's team finally relented Tuesday night and let the Commission on Presidential Debates put in the additional safety measure, in response to President Donald Trump's coronavirus diagnosis.
With that out of the way, Democrats on Wednesday morning were playing the expectations game, in case Harris stumbled at the debate like 2016 vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine did four years before.
'Tonight we do expect Mike Pence to have a good debate. He has a history of being a successful debater,' said Symone Sanders of the Biden campaign on a call with reporters. 'He was a talk show host. So, look, we are not coming in underestimating him.'
Sen. Cory Booker - a Senate colleague of Harris' and a former 2020 competitor - also hinted the Salt Lake City debate could be a draw.
'We know that Vice President Mike Pence is a formidable debater and we know that tonight is a challenge for those who love and know Kamala,' Booker said.
Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will face off on a plexiglass-protected stage Wednesday night at the first and only vice presidential debate, taking place at the University of Utah
THE STAGE IS SET: A back-and-forth over plexiglass barriers played out all day Tuesday, but
Initially, Pence's team objected to Harris' request for plexiglass barriers, arguing it was medically unnecessary. But the Commission on Presidential Debates had already agreed to the barriers, and Pence's aides said their presence wouldn't dissuade him from attending the event
A member of the production crew cleans glass on stage which will serve as a barrier to protect the spread of COVID-19 as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah on Tuesday
Pence and Harris will appear on stage exactly 12.25 feet apart separated by the plexiglass barriers (pictured being set up on Tuesday)
The White House put out two health updates on Pence Tuesday, one from his doctor and one from CDC Director Robert Redfield, explaining that none of the people the vice president interacted were 'close contacts' despite him being in the Rose Garden on September 26
Pence was also seated front row at a Gold Star families event Sunday, September 27 where at least one person has tested positive for COVID-19. The vice president, however, wasn't seated close enough to the individual for him to fall under CDC's quarantine guidelines
The New Jersey Democrat also pointed out the historic nature of the event, as Harris is the first woman of color to appear on a major party's presidential ticket.
'Her ancestors are celebrating,' he said on the call with Sanders. 'There are many children, as I've sent her pictures of friends of mine who have sent me pictures of black and Indian girls rapt by the TV watching Kamala.'
'This is going to be one of those nights that's going to reverberate in many ways,' he added.
Across-the-aisle, the Trump-Pence campaign was deploying the same strategy and touting Harris' ability to debate.
'Kamala Harris has been around the debate stage,' the Trump campaign's Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said on Fox News Channel Tuesday. 'She was in the U.S. Senate. They debate there all the time. Remember, she was a prosecutor.'
With the Trump campaign taking on water, Pence's job Wednesday night will be to keep things afloat.
Pence, however, has been here before.
Four years ago, the Trump campaign was in similar peril when Pence (right) debated Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine (left). Pence was largely believed to have won that debate, at least stylistically
When he debated Kaine four years ago, the BBC reported that Pence's 'only job - was to stop the bleeding and give the campaign an opportunity to regroup.'
While the veep debate was held three days before the 'Access Hollywood' 'grab 'em by the p****' tape was released, Trump's campaign was already hobbled by the now president's initial debate performance and a New York Times story detailing his massive business losses, which allowed him to write off income taxes for years.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Before Friday's shock coronavirus diagnosis, reviews of Trump's Tuesday night