Ex-GOP senator talks over only woman on CNN panel while defending Mike Pence’s interruptions in VP debate

Matt Mathers
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A conservative commentator interrupted the only woman on a CNN panel while defending Mike Pence against accusations that he repeatedly spoke over Kamala Harris during Wednesday night's vice presidential debate.

Former GOP senator and Trump supporter Rick Santorum appeared on the network to discuss the clash between Ms Harris, 55, and Mr Pence, 61, both of whom went head-to-head on a number of key issues ahead of November's election.

Following the contest, Mr Pence was accused of repeatedly cutting in on his rival, with a CBS News analysis showing that he made twice as many interruptions (10-5) as Ms Harris, and spoke for two minutes longer.

When CNN's Gloria Borger pointed out the vice president's repeated incursions, Mr Santorum shouted: "Don’t make the claim that he interrupted repeatedly!” before she got to finish her point.

As Ms Borger attempted to finish her sentence, Mr Santorum continued to talk over her, apparently unaware of the irony of the situation.

Coronavirus took centre stage at last night's debate, with Ms Harris accusing the Trump administration of the “greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country” over its handling of the pandemic.

Mr Pence defended the president's record on the pandemic and other issues under robust attack from Ms Harris, who said the president's failures had cost American lives.

The contest was in stark contrast to last week's combative encounter between Mr Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden.

With less than four weeks to go until the November election - and more than 5 million votes already cast - the vice presidential debate was unlikely to change many minds in a clash dominated by voter reactions to the presidential candidates.

Mr Biden has led the president consistently in national polls, but surveys in a number of key battleground states - such as Arizona - show a much tighter race.

Vice presidential candidates clash in Wednesday’s debateGetty Images
Vice presidential candidates clash in Wednesday’s debateGetty Images

On Thursay, Ms Harris will be joined by Mr Biden at an event with Native American leaders in Arizona.

Mr Pence also will travel to Arizona, for a campaign event in Peoria, after beginning the day with an airport hangar rally in Boulder City, Nevada.

Nevada and Arizona are critical swing states in the race for the White House.

Mr Biden's campaign has targeted Arizona, which the president carried by 3.5 percentage points in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton, as a state he could flip in his bid to gather the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday showed Mr Biden with a narrow 2-percentage-point edge on Mr Trump in Arizona, which has 11 electoral votes.

Mr Trump, 74, lost Nevada to Ms Clinton by 2.4 percentage points in 2016, and is hoping to claim it in November, although polls have shown he has an uphill battle.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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