DANVILLE, Ky., (UPI) — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden must be “on his toes” in Thursday’s debate because Republican Paul Ryan is apt to tame his views, a senior campaign adviser said.
“I think he’s gonna have to be on his toes because my guess is you’re gonna see what [GOP presidential nominee] Mitt Romney tried to do [in last week's presidential debate], which is [have running mate] Paul Ryan, Congressman Ryan, walk away from the positions that he’s held during this campaign and try to give a much, much different and softer image for the American people,” Robert Gibbs told NBC’s “Today” show.
The 90-minute televised debate between the Democratic and Republican vice presidential nominees at Centre College’s 1,470-seat Newlin Hall in Danville, Ky., is to begin at 9 p.m. EDT and focus on domestic and foreign policy. It will be moderated by ABC News foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz.
Gibbs said Biden is “eager” to debate Ryan.
Ryan told radio station WJR, Detroit, Monday he expects Biden will come at him like a “cannonball.”
Ryan began preparing for the debate shortly after the Republican National Convention ended Aug. 30, Ryan spokesman Michael Steel was quoted by USA Today as saying.
The House Budget Committee chairman has had “at least eight or nine days” of practice sessions in Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., Steel said.
Theodore Olson, U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, played Biden in mock debates. Olson was a prominent critic of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Ryan planned to continue preparing in Danville Thursday, Steel said.
Biden huddled over three days in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., with Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Ryan’s Democratic counterpart on the House Budget Committee, standing in as Ryan in mock debates, the Biden campaign said.
Also participating in Biden’s debate preparations were President Barack Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, former Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain and longtime Biden adviser Ted Kauffman, the campaign said.
Obama campaign aides denied to the Los Angeles Times that Obama’s low-key debate showing last week had put performance pressure on Biden, saying the mood was light.
The vice president was to host his team with a homemade lasagna dinner at his home Wednesday after their final sessions, the Times said.
Obama acknowledged Wednesday he had an off-night at the Oct. 3 debate, which let Romney seize the initiative.
“I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite,” Obama told the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show” Wednesday, adding he thought it was also “fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one.”
That debate Tuesday is to be a “town meeting” format at a 5,000-seat sports and exhibition complex at Hofstra University near New York City.
Obama later told ABC News, “Governor Romney had a good night [in the first debate] — I had a bad night.”
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg retorted Obama “had a bad four years and the American people suffered because of it.”
Obama told ABC he wasn’t dwelling on his Denver debate performance.
“I played a lot of sports when I was a kid, and still do,” he said. “If you have a bad game, you just move on. You look forward to the next one. And it makes you that much more determined. The difference between this and sports is that the stakes are so high.”