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. Cindy from VA

    Gotta practice all those lies...

    September 8, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Prep mode? He is already the biggest liar around so is the twit now going to teach him how bully prep gay school boys?
    I have a feeling he would be VERY good at it.
    Somebody find a girlfriend on the side yet? This guy who thinks he is so good looking, plate face and all, has to have some secrets if he stays here in DC during the week.

    September 8, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. ricke1849

    I saw Ryan when he was in Colorado. He spoke with no teleprompter and answered a few questions-in detail- on the fly. Joe and he will have a good debate. America can decide which model it wants. With the jobs shrinking, someone needs to come up with a solution besides spend, spend and spend.

    September 8, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. ricke1849

    GM bailout cost us the taxpayers 30-50 billion and the stock is going south.
    Good luck GM.

    September 8, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. J Merritt

    Cannot wait! Hope he brings lots of fun facts with him. Joe Biden is going to absolutely clean his clock.

    September 8, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Too bad Ryan sold his soul to run for vice-president. Once known as a truth teller or straight talker, he will now be known as a liar without character.

    September 8, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. militarymike

    and by "prep" they obviously mean memorizing more lies.

    September 8, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Dan

    Prep here means making a list of stuff to make up.

    September 8, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. .

    Hello, CNN Moderator.... how is your candidate going to defend his economic polices that have left almost 1 million Americans without hope?

    September 8, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Studypeople

    Are we better off than what the Last President left Us just under 4 years ago? YES! Boy for a Party of Elephants, they seem to have lost their Short Term Memory..... But thanks for reminding Us Congressman Ryan.

    September 8, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Fortinbras

    I remember checking blogs after the Palin/Biden debates. The republicans were so sure Palin had won that debate, some were even RAVING. LoL Wooh! Some people catch on slow.

    September 8, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. josephine

    He lies with a pretty straight face and I hope Biden calls him out when he does it.

    September 8, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. 1twinsfan

    Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Well, you ain't seen nothin' yet! Just wait until our Bush redux.

    September 8, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. How's that sub three hour marathon claim holding up Mr. Ryan?

    Seriously, was he hand-picked by the Koch brothers or what.

    September 8, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. john T

    I suggest Bill Clinton stop blaming other admnistrations for our economic woes. He signed into law NAFTA, which destroyed much of our home ecnomic ase.

    September 8, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. RGD

    Cramming for a debate that is not scheduled to take place until October 11. Hmmm. It must be difficult to debate with himself as his positions change on daily basis, never mind what he did few years ago.

    September 8, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. mcp123

    where be the tax returns Mitt

    September 8, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Marc in Canada - it's a world recession people

    I think the media need to do a lot better job of holding politicians accountable. I can see why Romney chose Ryan as his running mate. They both claim to be men of faith but do not hesitate to commit a sin by misleading or lying to people. I've lost track of just how many times they have misled or tried to mislead us all.

    September 8, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Reddog9500

    The question in my mind isn't whether or not I'm better off than I was 4 years ago, but instead the question is: Would I be worse off if Romney wins the election? The answer to that important question is a resounding YES. And so would the rest of the poor and middle class.

    September 8, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    Obama is the president!

    September 8, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    I hope VP Biden calls Munster on all his lies, starting with the 5 big whoppers he told at the Repub National Convention.

    Munsters' lies were so blatant that even Fox called him on it! And you know that it's got to be a pretty obvious lie if Fox points it out ...

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 8, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. BeverlyNC

    Ryan can;t possibly learn foreign policy, economic basics, and the entire list of issues in a few weeks. He and Romney know nothing and have, until now, have hidden behind lies and more lies. Ryan will never be able to keep up with Biden in a debate because Ryan has told so many lies, he doesn't know what the truth is anymore. The nation will finally see the fraud of Ryan in the VP debate.

    September 8, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  23. pkrbkr

    Lyin'Ryan needs more practice????? When he opens his mouth it's so obvious he's a fraud and has only the interests of the 1%! Obama/Biden 2012 Forward........not more of the Bush policies that got us into this mess!

    September 8, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    In response to Munster's podium:

    YES!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 8, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. craigles

    Mr. Ryan: be careful, not to many lies & distortions & you may do all right.

    September 8, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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