Swattie Trains Biden for Vice Presidential Debate

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

According to a CBS poll of uncommitted voters, Vice President Joe Biden won the vice presidential debate decisively, winning the favor of 50 percent of respondents to Representative Paul Ryan’s 31 percent. Biden owes at least part of that victory to a Swattie.

U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) ’82 helped Biden train for the debate by playing Paul Ryan in a series of mock debates before Biden went head to head with Ryan for the October debate. The Vice President called for Van Hollen’s help since he serves as the Senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, which Ryan leads.

“I sat next to Paul Ryan all the time in hearings and have a good sense of how Paul Ryan likes to present his budget and his arguments,” Van Hollen said.

While Van Hollen said the Vice President didn’t need to brush up on any particular issues, he did recommend Biden read the book Paul Ryan wrote with two other conservative congressmen, The Young Guns, to get a sense of how Ryan approaches political issues and the root of his philosophy. Polls aside, Van Hollen said Biden effectively demonstrated his mastery of the issues.

“I thought he was terrific.” Van Hollen said. “and I’m pleased to say there is nothing that Paul Ryan said during the debate that the Vice President didn’t hear during our private sessions.”

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