From CNN's Dan Merica, Kyung Lah, MJ Lee and Jasmine Wright
Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will be the two candidates on the debate stage in Utah tonight, but the California senator's goal is to make the contest all about the man who isn't there: President Trump.
Harris, according to multiple Democrats familiar with her debate strategy, is preparing for the highest profile moment in her political career by studying both Trump and Pence's past positions, speaking with people who either know Pence well or have debated him in the past and preparing for a vice president who, unlike his boss, doesn't show much emotion on the debate stage.
But the goal, the sources said, is to make the debate about more than Pence and focus the conversation on Trump's mishandling of coronavirus, much like Biden tried to do a week earlier.
"Even though it is a vice presidential debate, the debate is about Donald Trump and Joe Biden," said a Biden campaign aide. "And it is all about making the case for why we need Joe Biden in this moment and why Donald Trump has failed."
Harris will make history as the first Black and South Asian woman to participate in a general election debate.
Read more here.
From CNN's Ryan Nobles
More than a week ago Americans saw a combative Donald Trump aggressively attack Joe Biden, cut him off and spend the entire debate in a confrontational posture. Mike Pence will be much different.
Expect Pence to abide by the rules, speak in an even handed manner and find ways to make his points with a measured tone.
Aides say he will still “prosecute” the case against Kamala Harris and won’t be afraid to return fire when given the opportunity. The difference will be he will do so with a smile.
From CNN's Jasmine Wright
Joe Biden's presidential campaign on Tuesday released a set of nationwide ads featuring only California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic ticket's vice-presidential candidate, ahead of her face off with Vice President Mike Pence at the debate in Salt Lake City.
It's her second solo rollout of nationwide paid ads on the Biden-Harris campaign, and will air on television, radio and digital and highlights the historic nature of her nomination as the first Black and South Asian woman on a major party's presidential ticket
The ads, viewed first by CNN, are aimed at engaging Black voters — particularly in battleground states — in an effort to elevate participation in the campaign. And they're part of the ticket's weekly seven-figure investment in outreach in battleground states in an effort to provide additional "information and messaging" around the vice presidential debate about Harris' candidacy, according to a campaign aide.
The ads will be released nationwide with an emphasis on Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia, among other states, the aide said.
One 30-second spot, is a nod to the barrier breaking nature of Harris' nomination as the first Black and South Asian woman on a major party's presidential ticket. It shows an elementary school aged Black girl watching footage of Harris' selection on her couch with a female narrator calling it a "historic decision."
The small girl reacts in complete awe and then the video shows her on stage, with the message "On November 3rd, vote for her" in bold white letters appearing over her.
"Our time is now," the young girl declares.
It's akin to a message both Harris and Biden have sought to magnify — the positive impact that the representation of the nation's first Black and South Asian woman on a major party's presidential ticket provides to young women of color.
A day after the announcement, Biden framed his selection as providing little Black and Brown girls who often feel undervalued overlooked to have the ability to see "themselves for the first time in a new way. As the stuff of presidents and vice presidents."
Read more here.
From CNN's Kate Sullivan
Taylor Swift said Wednesday she is voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in this year’s presidential election.
“The change we need most is to elect a president who recognizes that people of color deserve to feel safe and represented, that women deserve the right to choose what happens to their bodies, and that the LGBTQIA+ community deserves to be acknowledged and included. Everyone deserves a government that takes global health risks seriously and puts the lives of its people first. The only way we can begin to make things better is to choose leaders who are willing to face these issues and find ways to work through them,” Swift said in an interview with V Magazine.
sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
“I will proudly vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in this year’s presidential election,” Swift said. “Under their leadership, I believe America has a chance to start the healing process it so desperately needs.”
she was going to be watching tonight's vice presidential debate between Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.
I spoke to @vmagazine about why I’ll be voting for Joe Biden for president. So apt that it’s come out on the night of the VP debate. Gonna be watching and supporting @KamalaHarris by yelling at the tv a lot. And I also have custom cookies 🍪💪😘— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) October 7, 2020
📷 @inezandvinoodh pic.twitter.com/DByvIgKocr
“Gonna be watching and supporting @KamalaHarris by yelling at the tv a lot,” Swift tweeted. She included a photo of herself holding her “custom cookies” decorated with the “Biden Harris 2020” logo.
Swift broke her career-long silence on politics in 2018, when she endorsed two Democratic candidates in Tennessee who were running for the US Senate and House of Representatives. She spoke about her decision to weigh in on politics in the 2020 Netflix documentary, “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana,” in which she said she regretted not speaking out against Trump in 2016. In the documentary, Swift spoke out against Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s conservative record and described her as “Trump in a wig.”
From CNN's Dan Merica
Mike Pence's team agreed Tuesday night to allow the Commission on Presidential Debates to erect a plexiglass barrier near the vice president for tonight's debate in Salt Lake City, a Pence aide and commission member told CNN, bringing an end for now the negotiations over coronavirus safety precautions around the contest.
Pence's team made it clear throughout the week that they thought putting any plexiglass barriers near the vice president was unnecessary and that they opposed such a move.
Sen. Kamala Harris' team, however, wanted the plexiglass barriers, in part, because of the ongoing spread of coronavirus inside the White House and the fact that Pence attended a Rose Garden event over a week ago that may have been the genesis of the spread. Pence has since repeatedly tested negative for the virus.
Physical barriers like plexiglass are typically recommended when social distancing cannot be maintained. The candidates will be separated by 12 feet on stage. Masks are considered the best defense against both droplet and aerosolized transmission of the virus.
A member of the commission said the decision came on Tuesday evening, adding that there will now be two curved plexiglass barriers between Pence and Harris, one close to the vice president and one close to the California senator.
The commission member said the Pence team agreed Tuesday evening that "if (Harris) feels safer having it up on her side, they will leave it up on his side."
Pence and Harris have tested negative for coronavirus ahead of tonight's showdown.
Debate organizers are requiring that anyone in the hall other than the candidates and the moderator must wear a face mask, all of which came after they were advised to make changes by their medical advisers at the Cleveland Clinic.
Some debate background: The addition of the plexiglass to the debate tonight is the latest sign of how the ongoing coronavirus outbreak inside the Trump administration has reshaped the final month of the presidential campaign.
The health decisions made for the vice presidential debate tonight will certainly hang over the two future presidential debates — one in Miami on Oct. 15 and another in Nashville on Oct. 22.
Trump has said that he plans to show up for the forthcoming debates despite his positive coronavirus diagnosis, leading debate organizers to consider a host of contingencies for how to host each debate safely. One possible option is to hold the debates virtually.
Read more here.
From CNN's Eric Bradner, Gregory Krieg and Dan Merica
Vice President Mike Pence and his Democratic rival, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, will meet in Utah on tonight for the only vice presidential debate of the campaign.
Their showdown comes with the highest stakes for a vice presidential debate in recent memory, in part because President Trump's coronavirus diagnosis has made it unclear if and how additional presidential debates will take place.
It will also mark a historic moment, as Harris becomes the first Black and South Asian woman to participate in a general election presidential campaign debate.
Pence and Harris share tickets with two of the oldest men to run for president — the 74-year-old Trump and the 77-year-old Democratic nominee, Joe Biden — putting an extra emphasis on their roles as the second in command.
Here are things to look for in tonight's vice presidential debate: