The moment Kamala Harris shut down Mike Pence

The vice presidential debates aren’t always exciting, nor are they always fun to watch. But every now and then a debate comes along that delivers on a line we aren’t likely to forget. Such was the 2012 debate between then Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican opponent Paul Ryan, when Biden memorably dismissed Ryan’s claims by saying, “That’s a bunch of malarkey,” which The Washington Post says is one Biden his favorite words. 

The 2020 vice presidential debates are likely going to be no different, thanks in part to moderator Susan Page’s inability to reign in the vice president, who consistently talked over both her and his opponent, leading author Jill Filipovic to tweet: “Every woman knows that condescending sexist man who repeatedly calls you by your name as a way to be disdainful and patronizing when he’s talking to you and I don’t know what the term for that is but it is A Thing and Mike Pence is doing it to Susan Page.”

So it was left to Kamala Harris to deliver what could become the slogan for their campaign’s next T-shirt: “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”

The message might have been simple, but it resonated with women across the Twitterverse. One women’s organization tweeted: “We’ve all been there. #KamalaHarris” with a photo of the vice presidential hopeful and the quote “I’m speaking.” 

Harris' 'I'm speaking' lit up Twitter

According to CBS’ Ed O’Keefe, “Per our @CBSNews count tonight, VP @Mike_Pence interrupted Sen. @KamalaHarris 10 times. She interrupted the five times.

[Tallied by vocal interruptions from each candidate]”

One Twitter user said: “Watching @FoxNews saying that @KamalaHarris is abrasive and condescending. They didn’t like her faces. They thought she was too mean to poor Pence. Enough with the biased coverage. Cover policy not personality. #WeHaveHerBack.” But Harris supporters didn’t feel the same way. One said: “Listen. The amount of mind Olympics Kamala has to do to not come across as angry, emotional, combative but also be firm, warm, honest, direct …all while this mf’er is straight up lying and gaslighting her. Whew. The strength and the talent of Black women.” Another user responded: “As a black woman, all of this is triggering to watch. Both Susan Page and Mike Pence disrespecting Harris’s time. Watch whiteness and the patriarchy work. #VPDebate”

What did the men have to say about all this? Historian and Princeton University professor of history Kevin Kruse tweeted: “If the Trump campaign is really seeking to win over suburban women, I’m not sure an hour and a half of Mike Pence continuing to talk over a woman in authority who’s politely asking him to stop talking is going to do that job.”

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