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Harris and Pence will be separated by plexiglass at VP debate

After several days of negotiations over safety precautions and logistics, Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will be separated by plexiglass at the VP debate on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the move confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis has Democrats spooked about being anywhere near him or those in his orbit in the remaining days until the election, so they're scrambling to make last-minute adjustments.


Driving the news: The Commission on Presidential Debates approved the plexiglass on Monday, Politico first reported. There will also be plexiglass between the two candidates and moderator Susan Page of USA Today.

  • Last week, during the first debate for the South Carolina U.S. Senate race, Democrat Jaime Harrison put a plexiglass barrier between himself and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
  • Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller told Axios in a statement: "Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it."

The big picture: The Harris/Biden campaign has been pushing the Commission to implement stricter safety measures at the subsequent debates since Trump's announcement late last week.

  • They were also successful in increasing the distance between Harris and Pence on Wednesday from seven feet to 13 feet. (Trump and Joe Biden stood 13 feet apart at their debate.)
  • Democrats argue installing plexiglass and increasing the distance are two small measures the Commission can take to ensure their safety.
  • The recent slew of COVID-19 infections are being taken seriously by Democrats, but they're especially unhappy that the Commission failed to implement their mask mandate at last week's debate, allowing some GOP audience members to watch without one.

Go deeper: Inside Kamala Harris' new debate strategy.

Pre-bunking rises ahead of the 2020 election

Tech platforms are no longer satisfied with debunking falsehoods — now they're starting to invest in efforts that preemptively show users accurate information to help them counter falsehoods later on.

Why it matters: Experts argue that pre-bunking can be a more effective strategy for combative misinformation than fact-checking. It's also a less polarizing way to address misinformation than trying to apply judgements to posts after they've been shared.

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Locker Room wants to reinvent how fans talk sports

Locker Room, a social audio app where fans can talk sports and spontaneously join live conversations, launches Tuesday on the App Store.

The state of play: The company behind Locker Room, Betty Labs, has raised $9.3 million in seed funding led by Google Ventures with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Axios has learned.

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The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals

Some states are seeing dangerous levels of coronavirus hospitalizations, with hospitals warning that they could soon become overwhelmed if no action is taken to slow the spread.

Why it matters: Patients can only receive good care if there's enough care to go around — which is one reason why the death rate was so much higher in the spring, some experts say.

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Scoop: The Lincoln Project is becoming a media business

The Lincoln Project is looking to beef up its media business after the election, sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: The group recently signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to help build out Lincoln Media and is weighing offers from different television studios, podcast networks and book publishers.

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Trump, Biden strategies revealed in final ad push

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.

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How NASA and the Space Force might fare under Biden

Joe Biden hasn't gone out of his way to talk about outer space during his presidential campaign. That could be bad news for NASA's exploration ambitions, but good news for the Space Force.

The big picture: NASA faces two threats with any new administration: policy whiplash and budget cuts. In a potential Biden administration, the space agency could get to stay the course on the policy front, while competing with other priorities on the spending side.

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Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal coronavirus response has only gotten worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans believe the federal government's handling of the pandemic has gotten significantly worse over time, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Every other institution measured in Week 29 of our national poll — from state and local governments to people's own employers and area businesses — won positive marks for improving their responses since those panicked early days in March and April.

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Republicans and Democrats react to Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences at the rush to confirm a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
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