Trump, Biden Prep Very Differently for the Debate

The first of three scheduled presidential debates will be Tuesday night in Cleveland
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2020 2:00 PM CDT
How Trump, Biden Are Prepping for the Debate
Images of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his rival, U.S. President Donald Trump, lay on altar during a ceremony, inside an apartment in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Ahead of the first debate-stage matchup between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, each campaign is promising a stark contrast in policy, personality, and preparation, the AP reports. Trump has decided to skip any formal preparation. And while Biden's team believes the significance of the debate may be exaggerated, the Democratic nominee has been aggressively preparing to take on the president. Biden's campaign has been holding mock debate sessions featuring Bob Bauer, a senior Biden adviser and former White House general counsel, playing the role of Trump, according to a person with direct knowledge of the preparations granted anonymity to discuss internal strategy. A few details:

  • Bauer has not actually donned a Trump costume in line with Trump stand-ins from previous years, but he is representing his style and expected strategy. "I'm sure the president will throw everything he can at (Biden). My guess is that they're preparing for that—bombarding him with insults and weird digressions," said Jay Carney, a former aide to Biden and President Obama.
  • Those with knowledge of Biden’s preparations suggest he will not take the fight to Trump if he can avoid it. But on Saturday, at least, he was on the attack when he discussed his strategy on MSNBC, saying "the people know the president is a liar" and "he doesn't know how to debate the facts, because he’s not that smart."
  • Trump has not been doing any formal preparation, according to aides and allies who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. No set has been constructed and aides refused to say whether anyone is playing Biden.
  • Trump and Biden are scheduled to meet on the debate stage for the first time Tuesday night at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. The 90-minute event moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace is the first of three scheduled presidential debates.
(More Election 2020 stories.)

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