Shoo fly, don't bother me… as it bugged Pence during debate

WASHINGTON • A stray housefly briefly commanded the US national stage on Wednesday, generating buzz when it perched on Vice-President Mike Pence’s cropped white hair as he debated his Democratic rival, US Senator Kamala Harris.

The insect sat there for several minutes during the match-up, distracting viewers who perhaps may have been looking for a break from all the talk of taxes and trade.

“The fly won the debate,” Oregon writer Jeanne Duncan tweeted.

The fly hung on as the former congressman and ex-Indiana governor parried with Ms Harris, appearing secure in the knowledge that it would not be shooed away.

A short time later, it was gone, but its legend was only growing.

On Twitter, an account named @MikePenceFly swiftly gained thousands of followers.

Ms Harris’ running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden posted a picture of himself with a fly swatter on Twitter, asking supporters to “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly”.

His campaign set up a website,, to register voters. Within the hour, it was selling a “Truth over Flies” swatter for US$10 (S$14).

In a post-debate call, senior adviser Jason Miller had a different animal in mind: “We had a deer-in-the-headlights look from Senator Harris tonight,” he said.

Some Democrats took the opportunity to bring up President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 infection.

“The fly needs to be quarantined,” Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar wrote.

Republican Senator Rand Paul had a different spin: “The deep state planted a bug on @VP. This illegal spying is really out of control.”

CBS’ The Late Show host Stephen Colbert suggested that by remaining perched in Mr Pence’s hair for two minutes or so, the fly had a greater attention span than US President Donald Trump himself.


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