For President Trump, the preparation for the debate looks very different than in 2016, when he hosted hours of debates with a cadre of campaign advisors led by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
With Joe Biden on Tuesday, he eschewed traditional formal rehearsals and scripting practices. Now, Trump Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller and President’s Advisor Hope Hicks are feeding the President’s flash cards and videos between stops at Air Force One in preparation .
Mr Trump has frequently quoted his study on the Democratic presidential candidate. “I don̵
And while some are concerned about the president’s lack of preparation, his advisors point out that he is an “atypical candidate” and say that his almost daily availability to the press and often “hostile” interactions with reporters prepare him.
“The president is preparing to be president,” Tim Murtaugh told CBS News. “And by facing hostile news media on a regular basis. That’s pretty good practice in all respects.” The president’s spokesman added that the president was pressured while President Trump’s ABC News Town Hall was promoting questions from “unbound” voters last month. “He was faced with a tough and challenging question, to say the least. It was good practice for debate practice.”
“I think it was great,” Trump said to the supporters gathered in Minnesota on September 18. “I think it worked out great,” he remarked. “Do you know what I call it? ‘Debate preparation.’ I call it ‘free debate preparation’. ”
On Sunday, Mr Trump said a “combination” of Christie and Giuliani Biden is playing in the preparation for the debate. But, Trump added, answering reporters’ questions can be a preparation for the debate.
“I think the whole thing is in preparation for the debate,” Trump said at a press conference in the White House on Sunday. “You know, I do debate preparation. Every day, over time, I take questions from you guys.”
According to a campaign source familiar with the strategy, preparation for the debate for Biden took place both in person in his Delaware home and virtually in groups of senior advisors and senior campaign officials.
Democrats are reviewing the president’s almost daily tweets about Biden, his files and family as examples of the type of attacks they think the president will focus.
“People know the president is a liar,” Biden said in an MSNBC interview on Saturday. “He doesn’t know how to discuss the facts because he’s not that smart.”
“He doesn’t know that many facts. He doesn’t know much about foreign policy. He doesn’t know much about domestic policy. He doesn’t know much about the details,” added Biden.
The campaign believes that Tuesday’s debate topics – specifically COVID-19, race and urban violence, and electoral integrity – will allow Biden to highlight what he believes are the president’s most serious missteps. He is expected to retool criticism of the Trump administration that he has used over the past few months.
Biden is also expected to defend the Affordable Care Act, linking his fate in part to the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court as the Democrats view the candidate as potentially hostile to the Obama-era health plan.
Top advisors are also trying to warn the former vice president not to venture “in the weeds” of complex politics, as he did on the campaign trail and in previous primary debates, the campaign source said.
That focus on the news could already be seen when Biden made comments on the Supreme Court in Delaware on Sunday and was asked by a reporter if he was ready to expand the Supreme Court.
“What I’m not going to do is play the Trump game, which is a good game he plays – keep your eyes peeled. If I said yes or no to that, it’ll be a big problem. That’s them Heading here, “Biden said,” I’m focusing on one thing right now, and I’m serious: I’m focusing on making sure Americans understand that they are being cut out of this process … to take them away from the ACA and Your health care in the midst of a pandemic. That is the focus. ”
For months, the Trump campaign surrogates and advisors have downplayed Biden’s abilities for months – even running ads accusing his mental decline and coining the phrase “slow Joe”. Now they are trying to raise expectations for Biden towards Tuesday.
“People need to remember that Biden has been a Washington politician for 47 years and spent decades in the Senate just debating,” Murtaugh said. “He had eleven debates in the Democratic primaries and managed to beat two dozen challengers. So Joe Biden is a guy who knows his way around the debate stage.”
When asked about the campaign’s frequent assessment of Joe Biden underperforming in speaking situations, Murtaugh added, “I think anyone who watches knows that Joe Biden is sometimes confused, but they can turn it on when the time comes requires And we assume that he will do so on debate night. ”
“Maybe he’ll be great in the debate. You know he’s been doing it for 47 years,” President Trump told supporters on Thursday in Jacksonville, Florida, repeating his campaign. “Someone said, ‘Oh, he’s not going to do well in the debate.’ I said, “I think you are wrong. He’ll do fine. He’ll do fine. ”
Both campaigns accuse their opponent of lying before the debate begins.
“In terms of what he is doing to prepare for the debate, he is preparing for the debate. And he looks forward to being on stage with Donald Trump next week to set out his vision for the country and Donald Trump for the way to hold accountable for what he has failed in this country, “said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager at Biden, in a press conference Thursday on a question about the preparation and strategy of the debate. “As for how the moderator is leading the debate, you know of course that we hope he will hold Donald Trump accountable for what he says are just lies and untruths. But that is up to the moderator, and we’ll see what he wants to do. ”
Trump campaign staff also told CBS News they had studied Biden’s habits and tendencies and reviewed previous tapes of debate in order to build an “arsenal” that the president can use when he takes the stage Tuesday night.
“Yes, we are preparing to call out all of Biden’s lies and misinformation,” a senior campaigner told CBS News. “We have a lot of content ready.”