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5 questions as Pence and Harris prepare for debate faceoff

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A stand in for Vice President Mike Pence sits at a desk on the stage during a rehearsal as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Salt Lake City. The vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is scheduled for Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK – Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris meet on the debate stage for the first and only time Wednesday night in Utah.

Some key questions heading into the debate:

HOW MUCH DOES THIS DEBATE MATTER?

Vice presidential debates rarely move the needle in significant ways during a presidential election. But with President Donald Trump recovering from the coronavirus and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, trying to become the oldest president in U.S. history, the stakes are higher this time.

While it's uncomfortable to say out loud, there is a possibility that Pence or Harris might be required to step into the presidency before the end of the next term. That injects greater scrutiny into the prime-time affair for both candidates.

Pence and Harris have long been overshadowed by their principals. This is their time to shine.

WILL IT BE SAFE?

Less than two weeks ago, an unmasked Pence attended the now infamous White House Rose Garden ceremony that is widely suspected to be the “superspreader” event that infected at least eight attendees, including Trump himself.