Two columns on the V-P debate, the second one an insta-react fact-check piece. Links embedded in the headlines.

Yes, vice-presidential debates can make a difference (Oct. 6):

Wednesday night’s face-off between Republican Mike Pence and Democratic opponent Kamala Harris has the potential to completely debunk the punditocracy’s myth that vice presidential debates don’t make much difference. Pence, in particular, has a chance to be the most important vice-presidential debater in history.

Two prior veep debates proved quite important, if not provably decisive, in the results of their respective elections. (More on those shortly.) Yet neither of those featured elements as unprecedented as this year’s contest….


Despite Kamala Harris’ message, Trump’s economy outstrips Obama-Biden’s (Oct. 7): Despite Sen. Kamala Harris’s repeated debate caterwauling about the supposedly bad economy right now, President Trump has the much better case to make than Harris’s running mate, Joe Biden.

Here is the key fact: Right now, after seven months of a pandemic from China that almost unavoidably hobbled this nation’s economy to a horrid extent, this nation already has recovered so many of the lost jobs that — get this — the current unemployment rate is actually lower, meaning better, than it was at the end of the first Obama-Biden term.

Yes, Obama-Biden had four full years to come back from a one-time financial crisis, and the best they could do after four years was an unemployment rate of 8%. Today, a mere seven months after most states went on lockdown, the unemployment rate is back down to 7.9%….


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