Inside the White House map room, a small group of advisors sat around a table accusing the president and faced accusations and criticisms on everything from lying to incompetence. The team, led by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, was getting ready for what Donald Trump expected from Joe Biden on the debate stage Tuesday night.
About 100 miles north in Wilmington, Delaware, a similar scene was played with Biden and his team led by longtime Biden collaborator and debate expert Ron Clann. Biden’s rendition has been more traditional – having a mock debate with veteran Democratic attorney Bob Bauer, who played Trump in at least one season.
For two very different people with polar opposites and different governing philosophers, their debate objectives have some basics: keep your opponent on defense and make it as referendum on the other as possible. In conversations with multiple sources familiar with both candidates’ presentations, each is practicing ways to get under the other’s skin, while also refraining from blowing and closing the script if the debate is personal.
Advisers from both candidates are expected to have children from each of the night’s biggest flash points.
CNN is told that Trump is preparing to get a lucrative job after Hunter Biden went abroad when his father was vice president saying he would not qualify for the younger Biden. Trump and his allies have repeatedly made unfounded and false claims that the former Vice President and his son acted poorly in Ukraine.
Their hope is that this kicks Biden out of their game – either to blow them up or say something wrong.
Biden’s team is working with him to prepare for Trump to go after his son, as he didn’t have to deal directly with them as before. Trump’s advisers have spent time working with the president to counter Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, both White House aides with previous government experience, with Biden retaliating. However, a source familiar with Biden’s presentation says that his plan is to stay away from the issue, not to get entangled.
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