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Candidates In Vice Presidential Debate Get Some Advice From Their Surrogates

SALT LAKE CITY (KDKA) - The one -- and only -- vice presidential debate is Wednesday evening in Salt Lake City, and both candidates expect it to be different from that first presidential debate.

Political editor Jon Delano spoke with surrogates for both campaigns, including the widow of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain who has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.

Cindy McCain knows a thing or two about debates.

Her husband had three debates with Barack Obama when McCain was the Republican nominee for President. But now she's endorsed her husband's old friend, Joe Biden, and another friend of hers, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.

"Kamala is a wonderful human being. Like Joe, I don't agree with her on every issue. But I know we can reach common ground on the issues that are important to the American people," said McCain.

The McCains are no strangers to Pittsburgh. They campaigned here in 2008 and, of course, enjoyed sandwiches at Primanti's in the Strip.

But now Cindy McCain is focused on electing the Democratic ticket.

Her advice to Harris: "Stay calm. She's a pro. She's been through a lot of debates."

And McCain says Harris should go after Vice President Pence, who chairs the Coronavirus Task Force, for this administration's failures on the pandemic.

"We need good leadership, not people who won't listen to the scientists on this, but people that will listen to experts in this field," adds McCain.

While everyone expects a civil debate, it may get a bit sharp.

"I expect Vice President Pence to prosecute the case against the Harris-Biden presidential ticket. Of course, he will do it with the Midwestern charm," says Mercedes Schlapp, a senior strategist for the Trump campaign.

Schlapp says Pence will go after Harris in the belief that she's the one who dictates policy for the Democratic ticket.

"Kamala was ranked as the most liberal senator in the Senate, further than Bernie Sanders, if you can believe that, and what we also do know is that Joe Biden is weak, and it is really Kamala that has pushed Joe Biden to the far left," says Schlapp.

Vice presidential debates never seem to influence elections, but given that both presidential nominees are in their 70s, this one is getting a bit more attention.

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