[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/21/art.debateprep.gi.jpg caption="Obama and McCain are starting to prepare for the upcoming debates."]
(CNN) - There may be no greater illustration of John McCain and Barack Obama’s differing styles than the way they're preparing for Friday’s presidential debate.
Barack Obama is reportedly going to Florida for "debate camp" - traditional preparation that includes a sparring partner playing the role of his Republican opponent.
McCain’s prep is more on the fly: He spent several hours Sunday at his campaign headquarters working with aides, and he spent several hours in a Pennsylvania hotel Monday afternoon doing the same.
He will follow this "squeeze it in" prep schedule Tuesday as he campaigns in Ohio, and Wednesday around meetings with world leaders in New York.
Not until Thursday afternoon and Friday in Mississippi are McCain aides planning to hunker down and devote all the candidate’s time to debate prep.
Another illustration of how McCain’s preparation for Friday’s faceoff has been somewhat untraditional: right now aides say they don't have anyone playing the role of Obama in mock debates. Right now advisers like Mark Salter and Charlie Black and others are throwing questions at McCain they think the moderator could ask, without an "Obama" figure in the mix — although aides say that scenario may change by week’s end.
(Three advisors insist that reports former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele is playing Obama in debate prep are untrue — Steele is uninvolved, they say. Also untrue: a report that McCain may hold a Mississippi town hall Friday to help him warm up, as he has often done on debate days.)
One senior advisor involved in this prep says they feel because foreign policy is the subject of the first debate, and they believe that's McCain’s strong suit, a lot of time is being spent working on what aides believe remains the Arizona senator’s big challenge - keeping his answers short.