Coronavirus has dominated the one and only US vice-presidential debate, with Kamala Harris branding the response to the pandemic under Donald Trump the "greatest failure" of any US administration in history, while Mike Pence accused her of undermining public trust in potential vaccines.
Ms Harris attacked her Republican rival over the "200,000 bodies" on his watch and accused him of covering up the seriousness of the danger at the start. She said: "The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country."
But Mr Pence hit back: "The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable."
The vice-president repeatedly interrupted Ms Harris - but nowhere near to the same extent that Mr Trump had done to Joe Biden in the first presidential debate.
Mr Pence congratulated Ms Harris for her "historic" nomination as the first African-American woman on a presidential ticket as he sought to steer the debate on to the subject of the economy.
He claimed a Biden-Harris administration would "raise taxes on day one," destroy American livelihoods, and emphasised that "the economy is on the ballot".
The Covid 'hoax' and a pandemic panic
Kamala Harris - separated from her rival by 12ft and Plexiglass shields - launched attack after attack over the pandemic on Mr Pence, who is also head of the White House coronavirus task force.
Referring to when Mr Trump was first told the potential severity of the virus, she said: "Here's the thing. On Jan 28, the vice-president, and the president, were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it."
She criticised the president for saying he had wanted people to remain calm. "How calm were you when you were panicked about where you were going to get your next roll of toilet paper?” she said. "How calm were you when your children couldn’t see your parents because you were afraid they could kill them.”
Mr Pence issued an impassioned defence of his - and Mr Trump's - handling of the virus. He blamed China for the pandemic and said Mr Trump's decision to ban travel from China had saved "hundreds of thousands of lives". He looked straight into the camera and told Americans who lost loved ones: "You'll always be in our hearts and in our prayers."
Pence perfects the art of interruption
Mike Pence had one key strategy going into the debate: paint Kamala Harris as a radical liberal who would raise taxes. The vice-president took every opportunity during the 90-minute debate to warn Americans that Joe Biden and Ms Harris will push up taxes at a time when Americans are hurting financially.
Over and again, Mr Pence used his speaking slot to hammer the message, saying they will "raise taxes on day one" and “the American comeback is on the ballot”.
Ms Harris attempted to rebut the claim, stating that Mr Biden had pledged not to raise taxes on Americans earning under $400,000, but she faced several interruptions from Mr Pence and struggled to get her argument across.
Mr Pence pointed out that Mr Biden has vowed to repeal the tax cuts put in place by the Trump administration, which would effectively raise taxes. Eventually, Ms Harris snapped: “Mr vice president, I’m speaking. I’m speaking.”
Somehow Neil Kinnoch came up
One of Mr Pence's best lines of the night was a quip about Mr Biden's past issues with plagiarism. Mr Pence suggested that the Biden-Harris plan for responding to the coronavirus pandemic looked very similar to his own administration's plan.
"It looks a little bit like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows a little bit about," he said. It was a reference to the fact that Mr Biden's bid for the Democratic nomination in 1988 ended in a plagiarism scandal involving then Labour leader Neil Kinnock.
The Trump campaign has been keen to remind Americans of the scandal and suggested that Mr Biden had borrowed a campaign phrase, "build back better" from another British politician - Boris Johnson.
Pence defends Trump against war dead 'slanders'
Ms Harris attacked the Trump administration's foreign policy record and in particular the president's attitude towards the US military, citing reports that Mr Trump had disparaged the country's war dead.
She said there was a "pattern" emerging where Mr Trump "has referred to our men who are serving in our military as suckers and losers."
Mr Pence was quick to defend the president, calling the reports "slanders", speaking over debate moderator Susan Page to make his point heard.
The issue, he said, was personal to him. Looking directly into the camera, he said: “My son is a captain in the United States Marine Corps, my son-in-law is deployed in the United States Navy. I can assure all of you with sons and daughters serving in our military, President Donald Trump not only respects but reveres all of those who serve in our armed forces and any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous."
'If you can’t win by the rules, you’re going to change the rules'
Mr Pence accused Mr Biden and Ms Harris of wanting to pack the US Supreme Court with judges to end the nine-member bench's conservative majority.
The issue has become a focal point of the campaign since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, with Mr Trump attempting to fill the vacant seat before the US election. If he is successful, America's highest court will have a 6-3 conservative majority for decades to come - unless the number of justices on the court is expanded. Some Democrats have expressed support for the idea.
“Are you and Joe Biden going to pack the court?" Mr Pence asked Ms Harris. "Your party is actually openly advocating adding seats to the Supreme Court, which has had nine seats for 150 years, if you don’t get your way. This is a classic case of if you can’t win by the rules, you’re going to change the rules.”
Ms Harris pivoted to the issue of whether Mr Trump's nominee should be appointed before the presidential election. "I'm so glad we went through a little history lesson. Let's do that a little more," she said.
She went on to quote Abraham Lincoln saying: "'The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next president of the United States, and then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land'. And so, Joe and I are very clear, the American people are voting right now, and it should be their decision".
"The straight answer is: they are going to pack the Supreme Court if they somehow win this election," Mr Pence hit back.