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Photos: Justin Sullivan/Pool/AFP

Mike Pence's performance at the vice presidential debate set conservative media on fire, generating high interaction numbers on favorable coverage of him and critical coverage of Kamala Harris, according to data from NewsWhip provided to Axios.

The big picture: The debate was more notable for its return to civility than for generating strong emotions — but the NewsWhip data shows that the breakout moments saw more traction on the right.

By the numbers: The 11 debate stories that generated the most interactions (likes, comments, shares) on social media all took off in the conservative online ecosystem.

  • The top piece — "Mike Pence on Supreme Court nomination and Roe v. Wade: ‘I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it’" (1.18 million interactions) — was published by CNBC, but generated most of its traction when it was shared from Franklin Graham's page.
  • Other top pieces included fact checks of Harris' argument about why Abraham Lincoln held a Supreme Court seat vacant in 1864.

The other side: Top stories from liberal and mainstream media were about the fly that landed on Pence's head as well as Harris' demeanor during the debate — her facial expressions and her "I'm speaking" assertions to Pence.

  • Stories about the fly accounted for nine of the top 100 stories.

Yes, but: Polling among debate-watchers indicates that Harris got the upper hand with her performance.

The bottom line: Even for Pence's moment in the sun, it was difficult to divert attention from President Trump.

  • The biggest story overall on social media on debate day was "Trump kills stimulus talks, tweets no deal until 'after I win' election" from NBC News, with more than twice as many interactions as the top Pence piece.

Go deeper

Jan 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House approves resolution calling to remove Trump by 25th Amendment

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In a vote of 223-205, the House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to remove President Trump from office by invoking the 25 Amendment.

Why it matters: The resolution — introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) — is highly symbolic, as it does not bind Pence to take action, but it looks to pressure the vice president.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.