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. rla

    Experience??? Obama had NO experience at anything except self promotion

    September 8, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Romney cares less

    He's going to have to get all His Lies in a perfect little row or write them on the palms of his hands like the other looser Repub vp did.

    What a sorry lying bunch! OBAMA 2012! Were are you taxes M.R.?

    September 8, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Martha in CF

    I would not be better off if the redumblicans get into office!!!!!!!! I sure hope the American people are smart enough to vote President Obama back in. The poor and middle class will be screwed if the redumblicans are voted in......The redumblicans have NOTHING to offer!!!!!!!!!!!
    Giving Obama another 4 years thanks......

    September 8, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. YaValioCacaWates

    Looking forward to Joe Biden tearing Ryan up. President Obama will get re-elected.

    September 8, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. lindylou123

    He won't be able to get away with all of his lies in the debates so I doubt he can be prepared in any real way. He has nothing to say – this guy used his own grandmother to lie. And, he has absolutely no foreign affairs idea – and he did not even mention our military heroes once during his speeches – we ar at war numbnut and you want more war but you care nothing for those who fight for our freedom. LOSER!

    September 8, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Hey

    Wouldn't elect him Mayor of Farmville.

    September 8, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Alex Santana

    Why whenever I see Ryan, he seems like a little boy trying to explain to his "principal"why his paper is late. He always seems to be apologizing. What a poor choice for VP. Biden will eat him up in the debates, because all Ryan has on his side, is that he knows how to say things stupid people want to hear. He is no foreign policy experience...he doesn't even live in Washington, yet he trashes it. Does he realize that if elected he has to LIVE in DC!! Overseas he would be an embarrassment. Not only because he has nothing to say, but he looks like Goofy.....better he gets a job in Disneyland not Washington!!!

    September 8, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Beverly - NYC

    So many lies to remember, so little time .

    September 8, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Hay lyin Ryan ,can you please tell me why you returned 60,000 dallars in campaign donations in your home state from the casino owner trying to get another casino????? Could it be because of a federal investagation with your name included ?????

    September 8, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. lindylou123

    Who would want this anti woman, anti worker, anti environment, anti senior, anti education, anti peace idiot in any office

    September 8, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    He needs to get busy deciding which remarks will be easier to clarify later after the dreaded fact checkers shred him publicly. Of course it may just be that he has followed the Nixon Rule: "Tell a lie often enough and it will become indisguishable from the truth." for so long he thinks what he sas is the truth

    September 8, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. namryan

    well... Mr. Ryan: We're in this together! Stop your trickle down economic utopia!

    September 8, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Ryan will make the same mistake with Joe Beiden that many others have. Beiden intentionally allows his opponents to underestimate him. In a debate, like in many other things, you do not necessarily have to be better than your opponent to win. You must be better than he thinks you are. When evaluating debates over the last few decades, there were some obvious moments when that came true.
    1. Nixon – Kennedy. Everyone who listened to the Radio broadcast said Nixon won, despite his not knowing where Quemoy and Matsu were. Everyone who watched the TV broadcast said Kennedy won because Nixon looked too nervous.
    2. Reagan – Carter. Carter lost the debate (and subsequent election) by underestimating the power of Reagan's voice. "There you go again" sealed his fate.
    3. G.H.W. Bush – Clinton – Perot. Perot provided all the classic lines. Bush was unsure of himself (unlike his debate against Dukakis four years earlier).
    4. Cheney – Lieberman. Lieberman missed every opportunity that Cheney opened for him. It is said that a VP cannot necessarily win for the guy at the top of the ticket. However, it is possible for the VP candidate to lose the election.
    5. Beiden – Palin. I gotta admit. The only way Sarah could have won this debate was for the universe to erase Beiden from existence and replace him with Lieberman! Joe coulda stayed home and won this debate. Again, it wasn't that Beiden helped Obama to win, but Palin helping McCain to lose.
    6. Beiden – Ryan. I have a feeling we will see another case of a VP candidate losing the election for the top guy.

    September 8, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    Why are GOP idiot in trouble–ask Bush
    Where is Mittens– ask Bush
    What is Obama's lunch menu–ask Bush
    Can I go and use the restroom–ask Bush
    We need to go to Iran war– ask Bush...

    September 8, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. FedUp

    I don't know Paul. You are up against the brains of the Democratic Party.

    September 8, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. rexstorming

    Paul Ryan, always the simple minded, tool of the John Birch Society platform, is like Romney, having shallow skill, and little to offer anyone.

    September 8, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Lizzie

    JohnRJohnson wrote "How will Ryan explain in this debate why he would be qualified to act as President?" how will VP Biden explain that he is qualified.

    September 8, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    No Trust for Romney or Ryan. They will lie their way in and then flip.

    September 8, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. don in albuquerque

    First thing all Dems, Progressives, and Libs need to understand is--There is no longer a Republican Party. The party of Abe and Ike is dead. There is the New American Taliban also known as Baggers. Real Republicans have either been thrown out for not being extreme enough, or simply no longer recognize their party. Draw your own comparisons:

    1 Women are not people–For Sure
    2. Religious Extreamist–Doubtless
    3. Believe Yesterday was Way Better Then Tomorrow–Check
    4. Want to Controll The Vote–Already Been There
    5. Capable of Justifying any Lie–Ditto
    6. The poor should just Go Away and Die–Remember Newts speech (However not certain. Taliban may rate better here)
    7. Incapable of Joining this Century–Absolutely
    8 Racist–Bwahaha.
    9. Closed Minded–Nobody does it better.

    Feel free to add your own. Thanks Mitt and Ann, but the world has already seen a Juan and Eva Perone.

    September 8, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Thomas

    @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.

    More like , We tore it apart , buy us a new one , trust us ?

    Romney / GW Bush
    Lets do it again soon 2012 ?

    September 8, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Lizzie

    skokie, so we went from Hope and Change to Change we can believe in to Forward, what will be next " Only government can provide"

    September 8, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. chupacabra

    To ocomeonnow; 7 kids from 5 women, 4 of those kids were born out of wedlock. and I'm with you jimranes I too am a combat vet,viet nam 2 tours while W was protecting the skies over Texas or so he claims....Obama 2012

    September 8, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. timz

    Maybe as part of his research Ryan will review all of his marathon result (sic) and find out which one was under 3 hours . . . I mean under 4 hours . . . I mean . . . well, there were just too many result (sic) to remember it all.

    September 8, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Grahame Rhodes

    It's really going to be fun listening to Ryan twist in the wind. Consider his stance on abortion, vouchers for the elderly. Try explaining away the two wars that were unnecessary and that were funded with borrowed money. Betcha all he'll do is complain about Barack O Bama. Try him on outsourcing. Or perhaps gay marriage and 'Don't ask Don't tell' which they want to reintroduce. Oh Yeh it's going to be fun all right.

    September 8, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Eddie The Barber

    The question is – will we be better off in 4 years if we elect seasoned liers like Mitt and Twitt?

    September 8, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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