A competitive Biden expected Thursday
October 11th, 2012
11:51 AM ET
2 years ago

A competitive Biden expected Thursday

Danville, Kentucky (CNN) - Senior Democrats are predicting a scrappy competitive debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan when they meet onstage in Kentucky Thursday. But both men are collegial people so don't expect a fight club atmosphere.

With polls tightening and new pressure to energize Democrats after last week's presidential debate, Biden has been off the campaign trail for six days hunkered down in debate prep since the weekend.

Tune to CNN for Thursday's vice presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

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He's been working out of the same hotel in Wilmington, Delaware that housed his 2008 prep. Each day since Sunday he held a full 90 minute mock debate plus additional work sessions, all run by debate expert and former Biden chief of staff Ron Klain. The vice president's current chief of staff, Bruce Reed, was also present.

Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen played the role of Paul Ryan; he knows Ryan from their work together on the House Budget Committee. Biden communications director Shaliagh Murray played the role of moderator Martha Raddatz, according to senior Democratic officials.

READ MORE: CNN OBTAINS EXCLUSIVE PHOTO OF BIDEN'S DEBATE PREP

Former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman, several members of the Biden family and other aides were also on hand. Biden, who served in Congress for over three decades, prepared to cover topics from Supreme Court cases to varying aspects of domestic and foreign policy, according to sources.

Members of the president's debate prep team joined the group in Delaware, including senior advisers David Axelrod, David Plouffe and communications guru Anita Dunn. But they were gone on Wednesday and turned up at the White House, along with Ron Klain, presumably to continue the president's preparations for his debate Tuesday.

In an interview with ABC News Wednesday, President Obama said of tonight's debate, "Joe just needs to be Joe".

Within the Obama team the vice president is seen as an effective communicator, skilled at making an emotional connection with voters, but unpredictable because of his tendency to commit newsmaking gaffes.

CNN polling shows 55% of voters expect Ryan to win the debate and some in the Democratic camp believe these low expectations work to the vice president's advantage.

Privately, senior Democrats tell CNN they believe while a strong showing by the vice president can help the ticket, it won't erase the problems created by the president's low energy showing at the last debate.

Among Biden's goals heading into Thursday's face-off with Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan are to sell the Democratic ticket's policies in a clear way and translate wonk-talk into real life terms that have meaning for voters.

It's also clear from the Democrats' messaging ahead of the debate, he is likely to try to draw out Ryan on the differences between his own budget proposal and Romney's plan for a second term, press Ryan to get into specifics on proposed changes to Medicare, and - in the wake of Romney's newsmaking comments on abortion - perhaps press him on social issues and the differences between his own views and the top of the ticket.

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.


Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Joe Biden • Kentucky
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    These expectation games are driving me crazy. Enough already! All I hope for is an honest debate, but I know can't get that from either Romney or Lyin' Ryan. MSM, there is only so much hype you can build up for a fight.

    October 11, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Joe, follow "PEOPLE DON't die in their apartment because they don't have insurance"–mitt Romney. Catch and spin on this., be strong. "we don't have people that become ill WHO DIE IN THEIR APARTMENT THEY DON'T have insurance, NO YOU GO TO HOSPITAL, GET TREATED, PAID BY "CHARITY" or government, OR BY HOSPITAL".–MITT ROMNEY. Joe, please catch this recent comment of this nasty IDIOT. Good luck.

    October 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Even Sarah Palin, beat Biden, in debate. Ryan will make mince meat of him. Biden hasn't told the truth about anything in the last 4 yrs.

    October 11, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    The ONLY think expected from Biden the Buffoon is a gaffe a minute.

    October 11, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The difference between Biden and Ryan is that Biden makes "gaffes" and Ryan just straight out "lies". I put my trust in the guy who makes gaffes and not the guy who stands in front of me and consistently tells bald face lies. Ryan won't discuss his own "budget plan" that he wrote and there's a big reason for that, it won't get votes.

    October 11, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Borderless

    I cannot imagine having a gaffe prone, unintelligent, belligerent, closet racist as the successor to the presidency. Biden has no business in politics.

    Vote Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 11, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Martha in CF

    Go gettum JOE...show Ryan your stuff

    October 11, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. myviewis

    Club fighter is the description I was trying to come up with for Biden. Biden is an attack dog ready to pounce and he will destroy Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan is more into the intellectual, mathematics, accounting, economic charts, progress charts, his brainy and I don't think that will cut it with Biden who is a slick used car salesman.

    October 11, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Borderless

    Domestic policy:
    Ryan to Biden: "About this company called Abound solar..."
    Foreign policy
    Ryan to Biden: "Let's talk about how your administration is responsible for the death of our ambassador in Libya, and how they then denied that it was an organized attack, and then how they denied denying it was an organized attack..."
    Genreal
    Ryan to Biden: "Why is your administration so morally bankrupt?"

    October 11, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Hammerer

    Whities Willard you will not get an honest debate with this group. The Martha Raddatz is in the tank for the Dems. will control the outcome with softballs to Biden and screams of "liar" to Ryan.
    As with everything associated the Obama campaign this is a lie from the start!

    October 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    The delusional left is out in droves this morning.

    I'm sure all you demcorats still think Hussein Obama won the debate last week also.

    October 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. California Gary

    Biden will in fact go at Ryan like a cannonball. If all Ryan has to fight back with is his charts and his math, then he is in deep trouble because his math doesn't even come close to adding up. And when it gets down to foreign policy questions........Biden will feel like he is engaged in a butt-kicking contest with a one-legged man. No contest!

    October 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. cali girl

    My popcorn is ready and waiting.
    By the Way, Go SF Giants, Go Oakland A's!!

    October 11, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. California Gary

    borderless......here are a few more questions to be asked:

    Biden to Ryan....Why did the Romney campaign come out with comments designed strickly for political gain in the Libya situation before any of the facts were known?

    Biden to Ryan......About this company named Bain......you know, the one that pioneered "outsourcing".....

    Biden to Ryan......why has Romney flip flopped on so many of his positions?

    Biden to Romney......lets talk about that 47% thing.....

    October 11, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. BurrStone

    One of the big reasons Barack Obama picked Joe Biden was because he knew he was smarter than Biden. Those "right reasons" for Biden at #2 have long since been exploited. Between now and November 6th all team Obama has left to work with are the "wrong reasons". Oh well. Hopefully those six days of bunker-time will give him half a chance tonight.

    October 11, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. myviewis

    California Gary

    borderless......here are a few more questions to be asked:
    ------------------------

    Biden has to ask the question Obama failed to ask so it is up to Biden to safe Obama his job. Definitely Romney/Ryan are the choice for 2012.

    October 11, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    Biden is not only #2 in this administration but with the people also.

    October 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. ghostriter

    I cannot imagine having a gaffe prone, unintelligent, belligerent, closet racist as the successor to the presidency.

    All the more reason NOT to vote for Ryan.....

    October 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    FACT: Obama used Tax payers money (Stimulus) to outscource $2 Billion+ to an off shore oil company (Petrobras) in Brazil heavily invested by Soros.

    How convenient.

    October 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. ghostriter

    I would say Biden is at a disadvantage, but Ryan won't have much to go on. All Biden has to do is cede all of his time to Ryan to explain the numbers that "would take too long to explain". The floor is yours......

    October 11, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Go get 'im Joe!
    Obama 2012.

    October 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    Obama had his chance and obviously FAILED.

    ROMNEY / RYAN 2012

    October 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Fair is Fair

    HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    These expectation games are driving me crazy. Enough already! All I hope for is an honest debate, but I know can't get that from either Romney or Lyin' Ryan. MSM, there is only so much hype you can build up for a fight.
    -----–
    Making excuses for Biden even before the debate takes place. Oh how high can you set the bar?

    October 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Ntrain2k

    ROFL. The people on this thread who think Biden is going to give a good showing are hilarious. It will look like Ryan is clubbing a baby seal.

    October 11, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Zallen

    For Gods sake I just hope Biden's debate mentors are not the same genius's that worked with President Obama!

    October 11, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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