Ryan talks debate prep over ice cream
October 10th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Ryan talks debate prep over ice cream

St. Petersburg, Florida (CNN) – During an ice cream stop Wednesday, Paul Ryan acknowledged Joe Biden's debate experience might give him an edge during their upcoming face off but Mitt Romney's running mate said his challenger has one big weakness: Barack Obama's record.

"Joe Biden has been on this stage many times, this is my first time so sure it is a nervous situation because Joe Biden is one of the most experienced debaters we've had in modern politics. But the Achilles heel he has is President Obama's record and I am really looking forward to giving the American people a very clear choice," Ryan said.

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A confident Ryan talked to reporters Wednesday when he stopped for double scoops of "Moose Tracks" ice cream at Old Farmer's Creamery in St. Petersburg, after he spent two days prepping for the only vice presidential debate that will take place in Danville, Kentucky Thursday.

In Florida, at a landmark Mediterranean Revival resort hotel overlooking Tampa Bay, Ryan hunkered down with aides and former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who played the part of Biden in mock debates.

Romney advisers who also joined Ryan and his team for debate prep at the Vinoy Renaissance included Ed Gillespie, Russ Schriefer, and former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey who was on hand to play moderator during mock debates. Communications Director Gail Gitcho arrived Tuesday night.

While an aide said he spent most of his time practicing in a basement hotel ballroom, Mitt Romney's running mate said he also "finally got some sun."

"In this life, I haven't gotten a chance to spend much time outdoors…I've done some mountain biking in the last couple of months but I got a chance to just do some reading outside," said Ryan after buying his two scoops in a cup.

After Barack Obama's performance in the first debate, the seven-term Wisconsin lawmaker has said in a number of interviews he expects the Democratic vice president to launch at him "like a cannon ball."

"Because they had such a bad debate, Joe Biden is just going to come flying at us," Ryan said during an interview with Detroit radio station WJR that aired Monday. "It seems pretty clear that their new strategy is just basically to call us liars, to descend down into a mud pit, and hopefully with enough mudslinging back and forth-and distortion-people get demoralized and they can win by default."

Ryan was asked to comment on whether Romney's position on abortion has changed after the presidential nominee said in an interview with The Des Moines Register that he has no abortion-related legislation on his platform that he would reinstate a policy banning nongovernmental organizations from using federal funds to provide abortions.

Ryan defended Romney. He said, "Our positions unified. Our position is consistent and hasn't changed."

During the ice cream stop Ryan dismissed a question that Romney was unaware how many times his running mate has debated during his congressional career.

"Well I'm sure he probably didn't watch my debates," he said.

Ryan has been preparing for Thursday's showdown since he joined the Republican ticket on August 11, but after his speech at the Republican National Convention, the vice presidential hopeful intensified efforts with an all-day prep session at an undisclosed location near Bend, Oregon on Sept. 9.

The following week, Ryan teamed up with Olson at a hotel in Washington, D.C., which was the first time he tossed around questions and answers with the conservative legal scholar, who argued for George W. Bush in the landmark 2000 Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore.

They met one more time in Washington and again at a hotel near his home in Janesville, Wisconsin on Sept. 23.

The duo did not engage in a full-scale 90-minute mock debate until the first week in October when they convened in Virginia at the Wintergreen Resort tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

This week, Ryan spent all day Tuesday and half the day Wednesday in St. Petersburg focusing on debate prep. He arrives in Danville early Wednesday evening.

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Filed under: 2012 • Paul Ryan • Vice presidential debate
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Pete

    @Borderless,you're as clueless as your candidates.Bidens been around much more so than any candidate to date and he has historicly done well in debates before..Ryan should buy rocky road icecream because its gonna be that way for those two arrogent nitwits from now on.Romney can't use the seal friend story any more because the mother of that Navy Seal doesn't trust Romney and doesn't like him using her son against Pres.Obama as a political tool so he's done being soft for people ...So BORDERLESS come up with more original stuff like Bush and possibly Romney being at a $40,000 a person investment seminar in the corrupt Cayman Islands about tax free investment shelters,offshore that is and Bush being guest speaker,we'll see if Romney shows he's got millions over there so what's a couple of days of R&R between corrupt businessmen,right!!It's a week before the election so keep your ears to the wire he just might go,that's patriotism right investing in America,OOPS I mean the Caymans and tax free!!Presidencial my butt!!

    October 10, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I can't wait to see this and see who eats who for dinner.

    October 10, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. norma jean

    Actually the presidents record isn't that bad excepting a bad debate,,which can happen to anybody... but this young man is going to be surprised at just how easy a bad night can come when he meets up with Joe Biden!!!I One thing that will hurt Ryan is his arrogance!!!.It will be slowed way down by the end of the debate...As to some of the other comments here....may I say to "You Didn't"....try though you might....you CANNOT blame everything on this president unless you are totally unaware of what;s been going on in this country for the last eight to ten years!!!!!!!!Apparently you are!!!

    October 10, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Biden is great at debating, he is an attack dog, I don't think Paul Ryan can go up against Biden.


    Romney must have watched every Ronald Reagan movie ever made.
    In fact if they ever remake Bedtime for Bonzo , Romney would be a shoe in .

    As for Ryan , what can he say , I did everything GW Bush and Tom Delay told me to do .

    I don't find these debates at all real , there like a reality tv show, " All Look See Show " , It would be better to put both candidates in front of bright lights for two hours and let somebody like Edward Roscoe Murrow grill them and call them on there BS. He could have a macbook pro in front of him so he could respond in seconds to contradictions of past speeches and legaslation . And if they went over there time or spoke out of turn , he could penalize them , by taking away there time.

    Since Murrow is dead , get Mother superior from our lady of the roses and have her bring a ruler to smack them when there being rude or lieing .

    October 10, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  5. truth hurts

    The pressure is really on Biden to do well to make up for Obama's abysmal debate performance. Problem is he's got nothing positive to say about the last 4 years. Obamacare? 60% want it repealed. Stimulus? HA! Not a chance he brings it up. Unremployment? 4 years later, no improvement. Cutr the deficit? Nope, and ran up $6 TRILLION in debt.

    Ryan has a boat load of ammo and should unload on Biden AND OBAMA continuously. And if the same person is coaching Ryan that coached Romney, Crazy Joe is going to be in heap of trouble.

    October 11, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  6. honest mari

    Lying Ryan, flaky Romney and their billionaire bullying plutocrats will not stop at anything to steal and buy this election. They not only lie so swiftly, denying vehemently what they were clearly heard saying just the seconds before. Meanwhile the billionaires are now bullying their workers to cast their votes for Romney. How pathetic can these people be in their bid to seize power against the will of the people. We the people of this great Nation America are watching you Romney and Ryan. As flaky and as lying as you are, we now understand what you are doing . "Sweeten the deal package for the American people even though you know for sure the core of that package is rotten" just like you Romney did with the employees of Bains capital. Flaky Romney your ever changjng stance on vital issues that affect the 47 52 percent (99%) of us is scary . This is exacerbated by the ingenious lies put forward by your VP choice who lies so much that,he longer is able to look the people on the face or look directly into the camera. WHO IS THE REAL ROMNEY OR WHO IS THE LYING RYAN? PLEASE STAND UP,PLEASE STAND UP. Beecabuuuuu!!!!! I see you, I see you. This TEAM CANNOT BE TRUSTED. Never mind what they saying. They are all lies and flakes. Where lies their much talked about morals. Like old Gringrich often said to you Romney , please level with the American PEOPLE . We are not business ventures, we are people.

    October 11, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |

    Time to stop the lies and sweep the unhinged GOBP tea potty away from the peoples government that they hate so much.

    October 11, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  8. A little sad


    "Biden is great at debating, he is an attack dog, I don't think Paul Ryan can go up against Biden."

    Nice talking point – lower expectations. You forgot to mention the real reason Biden will win – Biden is qualified to be VP and Ryan is not.

    October 11, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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