Romney campaign stresses that VP debate will be Biden’s 19th, Ryan’s first

Alex Pappas | Political Reporter

When Joe Biden meets Paul Ryan in Kentucky this week, it will be the 19th time in his political career on stage at either a presidential or vice presidential debate.

That’s a fact the Romney campaign is stressing ahead of Thursday’s showdown at Centre College because it will be the first time Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman, has debated at that level.

“This is Congressman Ryan’s first time on this big stage, so we’re taking preparation seriously,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said Tuesday in a statement to The Daily Caller.

While it’s very typical for campaigns to talk up the great debating skills of their opponents ahead of debates, Ryan has been practicing for weeks and reads every day in preparation for the one vice presidential debate of the cycle.

“Joe Biden is as experienced a debater as anyone in national politics, and he has a deep resume in domestic policy and foreign affairs,” Buck said.

The Republican vice presidential nominee has been practicing with former Solicitor General Ted Olson, the Biden stand-in, and spent more than three days last week in Virginia solely focused on debate prep.

He also had three sessions with Olson prior to the debate-cramming sessions in Virginia last week.

On Tuesday morning, he had policy briefings with staff while in Florida.

“After the president’s performance last week, we know Joe Biden will coming at us like a cannonball,” Buck said.

Asked about the debate during a gaggle on Air Force One on Tuesday, both the White House and the Obama campaign expressed great faith in Biden’s debating skills.

“It really is the case that the vice president is an exceptional spokesman for the principles that are the foundation of the president’s policies when it comes to his economic agenda and the need to build our economy from the middle out,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki added, “As Jay mentioned, there’s no more passionate advocate for the administration’s approach to the last four years to the challenges the middle class is facing. And we expect he’ll make the case for sending the president and himself back for another four years.”

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