Wednesday night's much-touted vice-presidential debate already is being swept away by the deadline-every-second dust devil of digital news generated by Donald Trump - but before it completely disappears, the smart and sharp-witted political journalist Mark Z. Barabak checks in with some insights on "Newsmakers TV."
Barabak wrote the "Six Takeaways" piece that appears in today's print and online edition of the Los Angeles Times, where he not only offers crisp assessments of the performances of Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris, but also captures the tone and substance of the event, describes the unchanging, over-arching political importance of the pandemic to the race and highlights social media's fascination with a fly that took a long break (for a fly) atop Pence's helmet of white hair near the end of the evening.
"The whole story of the night was the fly," he laughed, "so I waited (to file his story) until I could get the fly in."
In terms of substance, Barabak said the debate "was really very frustrating if people were looking for any linearity - 'I'm going to ask you a question and you're going to answer my question' - because they didn't.
"So it was frustrating and it was annoying," he added, "and maybe it was somewhat amusing and it was somewhat typical."
Noting that expectations for Harris, a former prosecutor, were extremely high going into the debate, the graybeard political writer said that, "she was fine, she was good - but she didn't mop up the floor with Mike Pence.
"Mike Pence is a deceptively good debater," he said. "He's very low key, very reasonable and he's willing, with a great deal of force, to say things that are utterly, demonstrably false -and not be dissuaded from doing so, and it's very tough to debate someone like that."
In the end, Barbarak told us, "No vice presidential debate in the whole history of mankind has ever affected a presidential race and this one's not...any different.
"And we've already moved on -- we're already talking about the next debate that's not going to happen and the governor of Michigan maybe being kidnaped and all this other stuff."
Watch our full, fast-moving conversation with Mark Barabak on Newsmakers' YouTube channel by clicking below...and the podcast version is here.
Lead image h/t Marsha Croninger; Mark Z. Barabak via Zoom.