One Phrase the Debate Moderator Kept Having to Say

'Thank you': how Susan Page tried to stifle the interruptions, candidates going over their time
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2020 10:31 PM CDT
Interruption Redux: Debate Moderator Reprimands Pence
Moderator Susan Page, seen at the University of Utah Wednesday in Salt Lake City.   (Justin Sullivan/Pool via AP)

It wasn't quite the interrupt-fest that the first presidential debate was, but the face-off between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence at the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City certainly had its moments. Although the first few minutes seemed relatively calm, soon moderator Susan Page found herself saying the same phrase over and over: "Thank you, Vice President Pence," or "thank you, Senator Harris" became her familiar interjection to cut into interruptions or candidates who'd gone over their allotted time, per the New York Post, which noted Page "struggled" to keep the conversation on track.

Pence received the lion's share of reprimands from an exasperated-looking Page, who at one point said to him, "I did not create the rules for tonight ... I'm here to enforce them," per the Hill. Some wanted to know why Page kept using "thank you" as her moderating tactic. "How about 'Your time is up' and 'Answer the question'?" one frustrated viewer asked. The Guardian notes that Harris took care of business herself for many of Pence's breaches: When he interrupted her at one point, Harris stared him down and said, "Mr. Vice President, I'm speaking. I'm speaking." NBC News kept tabs throughout the debate and counted 16 total interruptions on Pence's part to Harris' nine. (More vice presidential debate stories.)

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