Biden And Trump Prepare For Debate With Contrasting Strategies

President Joe Biden is set to begin traditional debate preparations at Camp David, contrasting with former President Donald Trump’s informal approach. Biden will shift from his trip in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to the Maryland retreat on Thursday, where he will engage in structured mock debate sessions led by former White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

Biden’s preparation time has been shortened due to recent trips to Europe. Despite this, the president aims to focus on a detailed strategy to highlight his steady leadership against Trump’s unpredictable style. It remains uncertain if Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, will reprise his role as Trump’s stand-in during rehearsals.

Meanwhile, Trump, known for his spontaneous debating technique, has been conducting informal strategy meetings. Last week, he held discussions with Republican senators in Washington, D.C. “The president will have less time for debate prep than four years ago given his day job, so prep will largely be confined to immediately prior,” a Biden campaign official told the Washington Examiner. The official added that Biden intends to maintain a punchy demeanor while presenting himself as a stable leader in contrast to Trump’s chaotic approach.

The upcoming debate is critical for Biden to address concerns about his age and mental acuity. His campaign plans to emphasize familiar Democratic themes, such as Trump being a threat to democracy and reproductive rights. “The president is prepping to hold Trump accountable for his extreme record and the dangerous things he’s been saying on the trail,” a Biden official said.

Trump’s camp is focusing on policy contrasts rather than performance. Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) confirmed a recent wide-ranging debate session with Trump at the Republican National Committee headquarters, emphasizing issues like the economy and immigration. “It’s a pretty unique contrast that no one’s seen in our lifetimes,” Schmitt said, referring to the comparison of the two former presidents’ records.

Trump has also engaged with policy experts and potential vice-presidential candidates, including Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller dismissed the need for intensive preparation, suggesting Trump’s natural debating skills and robust public speaking schedule are sufficient. “He does not need to be programmed by staff or shot up with chemicals like Joe Biden does,” Miller controversially remarked.

The debate format has also been a point of contention. The Biden campaign denied allegations that they requested a sit-down debate, responding, “Donald Trump is a liar and a fraud. His campaign is full of liars and frauds.”

Post-debate, both campaigns are gearing up for a strong messaging push. Trump’s team has secured ad slots on CNN for the day after the debate, while Biden’s campaign announced a $50 million ad campaign focusing on Trump’s legal issues.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hinted at potential public appearances by Biden before the debate, 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 told reporters.

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. The second debate is scheduled for September 10, hosted by ABC.