Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, would also be both the first African-American and Asian-American vice president.
But Pence tried to portray her as a radical, saying that Harris — generally considered close to the Democratic establishment — was further to the left than socialist Bernie Sanders.
"More taxes, more regulation, banning fracking, abolishing fossil fuel, crushing American energy, economic surrender to China is a prescription for American decline," Pence said, reciting a list Biden would be unlikely to describe as his platform.
Mike Pence, questioned by moderator Susan Page of USA Today, acknowledged that "the climate is changing" but insisted that market solutions were the best way to reduce carbon emissions.
Even if they delved more into substance, the two candidates revealed little new about their policies and were notably evasive on hot-button issues such as abortion and the Supreme Court.
There was one moment during the VP debate that triggered an avalanche of social media commentary: a fly found its way onto Pence, spending a visibly long time on his white hair.
The Biden campaign quickly started selling fly-swatters online with the inscription, "Truth over flies".