Ryan V.P. debate prep intensifies
September 8th, 2012
09:51 AM ET
2 years ago

Ryan V.P. debate prep intensifies

San Ramon, California (CNN) – With the vice presidential debate five weeks away, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan will hold his first all-day prep session this weekend, campaign aides say.

The Wisconsin lawmaker will convene with aides in Oregon on Sunday, which has been described to reporters as the first of many sessions where they will discuss likely debate topics and counterpoints.

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Two Mitt Romney campaign aides would not reveal who has been tapped to play the role of Joe Biden in upcoming mock debates, but given Biden's experience - a two-time presidential hopeful, U.S. senator for more than 30 years and now Barack Obama's vice president - they say they are not taking "the challenge lightly."

"You'd be hard-pressed to find someone in American political life today with more experience in national political debates than Vice President Biden," said one Romney aide who travels with Romney and asked not to be named.

In a recent interview with CNN, the House Budget Committee chairman expressed confidence in his ability to spar with Biden in the upcoming debate in Kentucky on October 11.

"He's good, but I've been in Congress 14 years and this is what we do, especially in the House. In the Senate they don't debate as often and as frequently," Ryan said during an August 30 interview on CNN's “The Situation Room.”

"That's all we do in the House is we debate. I love debating. It's one of the things I like about this job."

Ryan said he had been reading Biden speeches, "watching Joe Biden tape" and "studying on all of the various issues." Aides told reporters that Ryan watched the 2008 vice presidential debate between Biden and Sarah Palin when he was home in Janesville, Wisconsin, on September 2.

His aides, who spend just about every day on the road with him, suggested they are not concerned about how the young lawmaker will match up against the more experienced Biden.

An aide said of Ryan: "He knows a lot, and he knows a lot about a lot of things, so it's not so much a crash course on how to get smarter in a particular policy area as it is how to think about debating someone who is extremely experienced."

The Romney campaign thinks it has a "very informed legislator with a lot of experience dealing with a range of policy issues,” according to one aide who travels with the vice presidential hopeful. “Now you are about to be thrust into a debate with one of the most experienced debaters in American politics who's debated on this level with these high stakes many times. So it's more thinking about how to prepare for debating on these issues rather than just becoming an expert on these issues."

Ryan has been participating in policy briefings prior to Sunday to help prepare him for the only vice presidential debate, but now that the convention speech is behind him, an aide said he can now "focus quite intensively on debate prep."

Oregon was chosen as Sunday’s prep site because Ryan is on a West Coast campaign swing, with rallies and fund-raising events in Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington.

At some point the campaign will designate a series of days for debate prep, much like Romney did last week in Vermont.

After a rally Friday in Sparks, Nevada, Ryan spent a couple of hours in a hotel conference room meeting with staff and poring over briefing materials in huge white binders divided by issue areas.

The binders have become so cumbersome the campaign is considering using a backpack to accommodate the bulky binders instead of a briefcase-style bag Ryan typically carries.

Aides said despite the long workday this Sunday the plan is for the candidate to get one day off the trail to return to Janesville and spend the day with his family.

He may be thousands of miles away from home this weekend, but if he's lucky, he might get to watch a little football.

"We will give him a little bit of a break in the middle of the day to watch the Packers game – but not much," a Romney aide traveling with Ryan told reporters. "We are negotiating right now how much of it he gets to watch."


Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan
soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. JohnRJohnson

    How will Ryan explain in this debate why he would be qualified to act as President? The man has zero foreign policy experience. I mean, ZERO! On top of that, he has a history of refusing to compromise. I think, in this regard, he is as unqualified as Sarah Palin was to hold national office.

    September 8, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. REG in AZ

    Got to get those lies down pat.

    September 8, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Big_D

    I heard there is this Hollywood actor with seven kids by five wives that the GOP is going to use as there display for the left wing immorality of Hollywood.... wait a minute....WHAT...with a chair.... I'll get back to you

    September 8, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Thomas

    It should read , " Are You Better Off With GW Bush " ?

    September 8, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Ancient Texan

    JohnRJohnson- And you think Obama with his collection of "present" votes was qualified to be president? Get real!

    September 8, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    Ryan's original plan for Medicare took it to a total Voucher System. When that did not poll too well, they made the Voucher Plan an option, in their 'proposed fix', with no change for anyone who chooses to remain on Traditional Medicare.. How will this fix the funding problem in Medicare if it is unchanged? Especially now that the $700 billion in savings Obama found is not used.

    Of course, these are just plans, which can change on the next poll. The record is fixed in stone, and ryan's record is to cut Medicare and put it on vouchers.

    September 8, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. carlos

    Ancient Texan..you are, well, yes, ANCIENT, it says it all.

    Just look at lying ryand, demonic eyes and that horn in his forehead is gotten bigger along with his nose, wonder why? LIES, LIES and a hell of a lot more LIES

    September 8, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Ohcomeonnow

    Big_D, you mean 7 kids with 5 women– only 2 of them were wives... ;)

    September 8, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. jimranes

    Ancient: By their relative records, President Obama was more qualified than President George W Bush who failed to due do due diligence on the presence of WMD in Iraq which he described as "an impending threat of mushroom clouds exploding over US cities" more than 83 times. In the event you haven't noticed, President Obama ended this fiasco. BTW, I am a combat, disabled vet when George W. Bush was protecting the skies over Texas.

    September 8, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. skokie

    What is the theme the republicanis using in this convention it changes daily I have seen you build it , now I am looking at are you better off

    September 8, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Big_D

    I stand corrected.:)

    September 8, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. 1twinsfan

    My time today – 49.30. I just did a charity 5k. Spectacular if you consider I have MS and no therapy horse to write off on my taxes.

    September 8, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Tony in Maine

    I thought he was brilliant – a natural who would eat Churchill alive should he ever debate him, pwerhaps the greatest political intellect for 200 years. Can it be that he's a one dimensional hack?

    September 8, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. jwoma

    Paul Ryan needs to go back to grade school and retake arithmetic......

    September 8, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. MikeH

    All Joe Biden needs to do is to watch out for Ryan's nose once the lies start to issue forth from Ryan's mouth.

    September 8, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Big_D

    Would somebody just ask Ryan to name five of the forty fourteen thousand foot peaks he claims to have climbed forty of? Just once, on live TV.

    September 8, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Sorensen

    It does not matter how much rubberface prepares. He will always sound and look like a total idiot.

    September 8, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. carlos

    skokie

    What is the theme the republicanis using in this convention it changes daily I have seen you build it , now I am looking at are you better off

    they don't have a theme, they copy and paste......then, go on lying and lying and lying

    September 8, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Jello

    Pompous is all that comes to mind when I see this man. He's a phony - and part of what is wrong with D.C. As a side note, when you have a man strutting around with Eric Cantor - be concerned, very concerned...

    September 8, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. PJ

    He has lying down to a science (oops, they don't believe in science). So, is he debating how many different ways he
    can tap dance around a question and avoid being specific or will he actually tell the truth? I can hardly wait.

    September 8, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. JimB

    Better get ready to explain all his lies about closing plants, Medicare, Welfare, and his marathon running. Like Romney his arrogance about being ok with not telling the truth is such a turn off.

    September 8, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Mark

    I hope Ryan/Romney talks about our Prisons, the most profitable entry in the USA. The USA has only 5% of the population and yet has 25% of the popultion in Prisons. LA, ALA, just 2 states, spend more on the construction of prisons and the care of prisoners than they do in Colleges and Schools, even Hospitals. Those states pay incentives to the prisons for each person jailed. No mental treatments, no drug treatment, just life in Prisons. The poor druggies go to prison and the rich druggies get all the news attention and go few.
    People should be noting this and urging their states to stop the growth of prisons and prisoners. Lots of this goes on under Republican rule. I bet Romney probably is making millions off our prisoner. Prisons are an economic engine in many of the states.

    September 8, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Augie10

    I just hope he can figure out how to tell the truth. His reputation is shot along with Mitton's.

    September 8, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. pat carr

    Prepare all you want Paulie Boy. You will be an epic fail during the debates anyway. Please explain to america how you want to cut all domestic spending BUT increase defense spending. Please try to sell that twaddle to America

    September 8, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. texan

    With the OBAMA sign on the podium I thought Ryan is rallying for Obama. DId he forget his party with all those lies?

    September 8, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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