California Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence faced off on the debate stage on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Utah.

California Senator Kamala Harris stands at a podium in front of a microphone
news US Elections Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 09:52

When President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden took the debate stage last week, the stand-off was filled with insults, interruptions and potshots. While Wednesday night’s Vice Presidential debate was largely considered far more civil, Vice President Mike Pence made plenty of attempts to butt in while Senator Kamala Harris spoke, from early on in the night. To that, Kamala had five words that reverberated across the internet: “Mr Vice President, I’m speaking.” 

Kamala would use the phrase several times during the course of the session, as Pence tried to speak over her and interrupt her speaking time. And according to reports, it wasn’t long before the phrase was emblazoned across t-shirts, knick-knacks, mugs and merchandise on online shops like Etsy

Celebrities and Twitter users also began to immediately share the phrase many women identified with, for having had to use similar means to getting time and attention to speak in public settings, particularly those dominated by men. 

Though the two frequently jostled for speaking time, despite moderator Susan Page’s attempts to remind the candidates that their answers should be uninterrupted. According to CNN though, the two ended up with nearly the same amount of speaking time, with Pence at 36:27 and Kamala at 36:24. 

Soon after the debate ended, CNN’s instant poll found Harris on top as more registered voters felt she had won the debate over Pence. 

Kamala Harris, who is the first Black woman and woman of Indian descent to be nominated on a major party's presidential ticket, has been open about her Tamil roots, with her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, immigrated to the US for a doctoral program at UC Berkeley from Chennai in the 1950s. Her father, Donald Harris, is an immigrant from Jamaica and a former economics professor at Stanford University. 

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