Biden Readies For Structured Debate Prep As Trump Opts For Spontaneity

As the upcoming debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump approaches, the contrasting preparation styles of the two candidates are becoming apparent. Biden will leave Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for Camp David on Thursday, where he will participate in traditional mock debate sessions. These preparations, led by former White House chief of staff Ron Klain, will focus on a detailed strategy to counter Trump’s freewheeling style.

Despite a packed travel schedule that included two recent trips to Europe, Biden is committed to thorough preparation. It is still unclear if Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal lawyer, will continue his role as Trump’s stand-in during these rehearsals. A Biden campaign official acknowledged the limited preparation time compared to 2020, noting that debate prep will be confined to the days immediately preceding the event.

In contrast, Trump is taking a more relaxed approach, engaging in informal strategy discussions with allies. Last week, he held multiple meetings with Republican senators in Washington, D.C. Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) confirmed a recent strategy session with Trump, focusing on key issues such as the economy and immigration. Schmitt emphasized the unique opportunity for voters to compare the records of two presidents. “It’s a pretty unique contrast that no one’s seen in our lifetimes,” Schmitt said.

Trump’s camp is concentrating on policy issues rather than the candidates’ performance styles. Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller dismissed the need for formal preparation, pointing to Trump’s frequent public speaking engagements as evidence of his readiness. “He does not need to be programmed by staff or shot up with chemicals like Joe Biden does,” Miller said, repeating a controversial claim about Biden.

There has been some controversy over the debate format, with the Biden campaign denying allegations that they requested a sit-down debate. “Donald Trump is a liar and a fraud. His campaign is full of liars and frauds,” the Biden campaign responded.

Both campaigns are preparing for a significant messaging push following the debate. Trump’s team has purchased ad slots on CNN, the debate’s host network, for the day after the event. Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign has announced a $50 million ad campaign focusing on Trump’s legal challenges.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hinted at potential public appearances by Biden before the debate, possibly marking the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. “We’re still always working through the president’s schedule,” she said.

The debate, moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, will take place in Atlanta next Thursday at 9 p.m. It will be broadcast without a studio audience or written notes, with two commercial breaks during which candidates cannot confer with their teams. ABC will host the second debate on September 10.