Campaign stays mum on Obama’s debate prep
President Obama speaks on the phone to a volunteer during an unannounced visit to a campaign office in Williamsburg, Virginia. Obama took time out from debate preparation at a nearby resort to stop and greet staff and volunteers at the office.
October 15th, 2012
12:54 PM ET

Campaign stays mum on Obama’s debate prep

Williamsburg, Virginia (CNN) – When it comes to President Obama’s debate preparations at an idyllic Virginia resort, mum’s the word.

The Obama campaign is going to great lengths to keep details of the president’s activities over the last three days under wraps, refusing to reveal nearly any specifics about how he and his top advisors are preparing for the crucial second debate with rival Mitt Romney Tuesday night.

Briefing the two-dozen reporters who followed the president to the picturesque Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, Monday morning, Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki again and again dodged questions about just how the president is preparing, saying only that he is both “calm and energized.”

Moreover, the campaign has sequestered the pool of reporters tasked with following the president in a separate building entirely from that in which the president’s preparations are taking place, ensuring cameras will not capture the president and his top advisors at work.

The few details we do know: Sen. John Kerry has reprised his roll as Romney in debate practice while Anita Dunn, the president’s chief message officer during the first two years of his term, has been recruited to stand in for debate moderator and CNN anchor Candy Crowley.

Moreover, the president - who during preparations for the last debate told reporters he found the practices to be a “drag” – is taking time off periodically and is “enjoying the grounds, walking around and taking in the beautiful atmosphere we have here,” Psaki said.

But questions the campaign refused to answer ranged from how the preparations are different for a town-hall style format to whether the campaign is videotaping the practices so the president can see his reaction expressions.

“I know you are not going to want to answer this…” one reporter prefaced his question after Psaki had fended off a string of previous debate inquiries.

“You are right, I am not going to answer that,” Psaki replied.

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. critical thinking

    He might want to prepare for questions surrounding this : Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that her agency was not the source of misinformation concerning the attacks, charging instead that the White House was the source of the false mantra that the murders were spurred by an anti-Muslim film made in the United States.

    Clinton told reporters that when Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her rounds on every Sunday morning news show to claim the film motivated the attacks, the information had been fed to her by the White House and not the intelligence community in the State Department or the CIA.

    Not only does Clinton’s statement contradict early White House accounts but directly contradicts statements made by Vice President Biden during the debate

    October 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • fiscal2020

      So it must have went like this

      White House -> State Department

      and not like this?

      CIA -> White House -> State Department

      Maybe it's time to work on your critical thinking skills.

      October 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
      • demwit

        The way is should be:
        CIA -> White House -> State Department -> American people

        The way it happened
        CIA -> WH ----> American people
        CIA -------> American people
        CIA -> State Dept -> American people
        CIA -------> American people
        WH ------–> American people
        CIA -------> American people
        State Dept ---–> American people
        CIA -------> American people
        WH ------–> American people
        CIA -------> American people

        October 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  2. Dean

    Obama thought that Romney was arrogant and pushy in the first debate? Thats called 'leadership'...which is why Obama didn't recognize it. Clint was right...empty.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Charlotte

      "Leadership?" Well, only if you think lying skuzzbags are "leaders." Anyone who votes for Romney is treasonous and anti-American.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:36 am |
      • Caramon

        In what way would voting for Romney be treasonous or anti-American? Please explain your reasons for such a claim.

        October 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • Caramon

        You also understand this includes a large number of our military?

        October 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Olly

      Hey Dean,

      What article did you read? Obama's thoughts on Romney's performance aren't in this article. Being arrogant and pushy is leadership? When Joe Biden did this, it was called 'pushy' and 'arrogant', not leadership. Here's a tip. Don't use different lenses to judge different people. Use the facts.

      October 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  3. Jay in NC

    Obama could just recycle his 2008 campaign speeches and blame it on the guy that was in office during the past 4 years.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  4. Corey

    C'mon. He's already said he's gonna spend 90 minutes whining about Bain. Like that'll work, LOL!

    October 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Montykoolaid

    This wont even be close. Obama could have and should have ripped him apart the first time. Romney has NO platform beneath him that he wont change in a moments notice to try to appeal.

    Get your popcorn. Romney is going to get fed through a tube after this.

    Please please PLEASE keep crowing about Mitts "debating skills" (which consist of saying something, letting your opponent address what you said, then saying you never ever said it.) Its going to make Tuesday night that much sweeter.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  6. rosco

    It really doesnt natter what he plans, you can count on
    point & blame

    October 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Charlotte

      You're projecting your own proclivities. And you have the attention span of a gnat.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • rosco

        Your manless arent you??? its ok you backed a loser it happens sometimes, clear your head and join mitt for a brighter future, stop being a sheep led to slaughter

        October 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Ed

      Kinda spoiles it when you know someone has to practice bing tough in a debate.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  7. ABCorrection

    Nice one @Jay in NC. Well played.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  8. critical thinking

    Truth and facts are Obama's kryptonite, they make him weak and dizzy at any altitude.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  9. ART

    I cannot wait to see how many times Romney flips and flops through this debate

    October 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Charlotte

      He's going to be like a beached whale.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  10. Jake

    Like it matters, Romney is going to win and we can finally end this feminist movement once and for all

    October 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  11. Kool-Aid Police

    Anyone care to guess how many times Obama lies? I think it'll exceed 30. CNN you say "mums the word" yet you still wrote the article, I guess you'll do anything to prop up the false messiah.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  12. Proudcanadian

    The outcome of the debate is already decided by the GOP supporters in CNN-John King and David Gergen(A beneficiary of Bain Capital).It really does not matter how Obama performs, CNN will declare it a draw or a Romney Win.Still cannot believe after watching the VP debate they called it a draw while it was clear that Biden was way way much better and won by at least 70%.They only major comment was how Biden kept laughing after Ryan lies!

    October 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • ALittleBird

      The reason it's named CNN is because it stands for Conservative News Network.

      October 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Kool-Aid Police

      Plus Biden claimed he didn't vote for the two wars when really he did, not to mention his lie on Libya. I guess he gets a pass though, right?

      October 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Caramon

      You do realize that CNN is more liberal than conservative?

      October 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Charlotte

        LOL!!!! Only in the fantasies of a thugtard. No, CNN is – like most of the media – biased toward the right. But you tards scream "liberal bias" on anyone who isn't kissing Limbaugh's backside.

        October 16, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • Caramon

        Considering most believe that Fox is the only right leaning station, I think you are in the minority. Certainly you don't believe that NBC is conservative.

        October 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  13. FedUp

    Why is it such a secret? Is Michelle going to be debting instead of Obama? That would make for an interesting debate. otherwise, it will be more of the same,

    October 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. critical thinking

    Please ask the President about this : "The decision to raid Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and kill him was made without President Obama – and actually was kept from him until after the helicopters already were in Pakistani airspace – according to a new report from a retired major general who cites a senior intelligence source.
    The raid was handled by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta and others in this way because Obama had vetoed multiple earlier opportunities to attack the man behind the 9/11 terror attacks, the report said."
    "In a column published today by WND, Vallely said a “senior and sensitive intelligence community source” affirmed to a Stand Up America research team that Obama “did not know of the raid in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011, until after the helicopters with SEAL Team 6 had crossed into Pakistani airspace.”
    The source said Obama was notified “at the golf course … which is why he was sitting in the strange sitting position in the picture that documented the White House operations room event.”"
    Osama bin Laden raid not Obama's call
    Exclusive: Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely reveals name of leader who authorized operation

    October 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  15. dale

    2008 the fools voted this knucklehead into office and as a result we are in deeper than before. If the idoits vote him in a second time then you better start learning your Koran and bend over with your butt facing east because your going to get plowed. Comrade Obummer and Chewie will be laughing all the way to the kremlin.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  16. dale

    no bummer in 2012 23 million unemployed, Korans in every hotel

    October 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  17. Pappy

    Back in my day, we worked and were productive. We had and showed respect to our employers. Today all the people want is more, more, more, take, take, take, does any youth in American have any self pride anymore?? We got on the bus we worked hard and gave an honest day. The fella in the Big House in D.C. has really let American values and ethics go in the outbackhouse. Never really understood Them Mormums, but being an old geeze Im going to give him a try. We need a good example for our yung-ins. Not no movie fella, I just pray my grandkids can have it better than me.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Charlotte

      greed, greed, greed, take, take, take, whine, whine, whine, not pull your own weight – you're outlining the perfect description of Romney and Ryan!

      October 16, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Pappy

        No need to show your slow witted missy, try thinking for yourself, it would be a start

        October 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  18. cheryl downs

    I would like to see any one of you run a country, travel state to state and campaign all over and get up in front of a billion people and not be exhausted....that debate our President was tired and exhausted..not a wimp like so many think! Got your back Mr. President..GIVE EM HELL at the town hall debate we believe in you! Take our nation home!!!!!

    October 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • rosco

      Run the country ???, id like to see mr Obummer work just one day,

      October 16, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Caramon

      There were a number of reasons provided for the President's performance in the last debate. I don't seem to recall anyone calling him a wimp. Please note that Mitt Romney likewise is traveling state to state campaigning and speaking to large crowds. Therefore, this is not a valid excuse.

      I should ask what is your reason for believing in the President? What is his plan for dealing with the deficit, the unemployment and his stand on the activities of the UN?

      October 16, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • Christian

        In terms of deficit reduction, Obama's plan is to bring in revenue by allowing the Bush Era tax cuts to expire on the top percent of income earners and bringing their share back to 1990's levels. As far as unemployment Obama will extend the Bush Era tax cuts on the middle class and use money saved through increased revenue and not spending on multiple wars to increase job creation. As far as the UN, he just spoke a few weeks ago to the UN and layed down a firm hand on Syria, Iran and China. The speech can be found online for free.

        Your turn. What is Mitt Romney's plan for debt reduction, unemployment and dealing with the UN?

        October 16, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Pappy

      Missy, my mammmy always said if he cant handle the heat he needs to leave the kitchen

      October 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  19. jerrylax

    you mean Kerry is not sparing this time with barry? I just could not believe stupid could the obama camp be? Wonder what idiot they dug up this time to help with the debate. They rolled out Susan Rice to take the bullet for obama on the embassy murders because no one else would do who is going to take the blame for this failed debate tomorrow?

    October 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  20. Marie

    Love the ignorant fear being spewed from the supporters of everyone but us 47%. LOL I so enjoy sitting back and watching the underestimation of our president by those whose cancerous disapproval continues to eat them alive. I expect nothing less from the "want all the credit but take none of the responsibility" party. These are the same folks that let the ignorant baboon from 8 years prior hang on a podium and all but spit tobacco at the feet of the news corp as he 'Mission Accomplished" our great nation into the toilet and then flushed several times for good measure. At this rate with Mitt as the poster boy for all things smarmy, I say he should have latched on to Bachman instead of Ryan like McCain did with Palin. It would be the same crazy talking as far as I can tell.

    October 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • rosco

      so you admit that you are a loser???

      October 16, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • Charlotte

        compared to YOU, not even close.

        October 16, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  21. Dan B

    I hope this debate goes similarly to the last one.

    October 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  22. joe

    how many times can the president call out this lier and get away with it? Mittens is an insincere troll that lies with a straight face. Check out fact check everytime the man opens his mouth an untruth pops out. Mittens can act combative and get all defensive but the president can't do that or the repo clowns will call him an angry black man. Hopfully the truth will win out but after almost 4 years of repo lies it will be hard. Substance is what people are looking for. not the looney threats and comments made by the uninformed.

    October 16, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Charlotte

      Problem is, all these retarded supporters of mits-hit don't CARE about America, they don't CARE about truth and honesty or honor, they don't even care about their own well-being. They just kissybutt on Mitteepoo because he's white. They refuse to acknowledge (or are intellectually incapable of recognizing) his deceit, his criminal background and his lies. And even if they see them, they themselves are so completely lacking in morals that they don't care. They just want the Black Guy out of office because they never got over the fact that the GOP can lose. Koch Brothers must be laughing so hard at them to fall for all the lies and bogus ads. Stupid dolts, we can fool them into electing this guy who will then let us ream them several new ones while we sit back and get even richer. Sad, sad, sad. On the other hand, it's natural selection at work.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • rosco

        You write like an angry little chubby troll

        October 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Caramon

      Criminal background? Like what?

      October 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  23. jerrylax

    Funny, yesterday the obama spin begins...clinton goes under the bus. Rice blames our intell agencies. Today the spin is in high gear... The o'bummer campaign is calling Romney a salesman and etc... isn't that calling the kettle black? If this is all obama has...well, it is sad. We Americans are supposed to believe obama did not know what was happening in Libya..when his National security advisor and staff are in the loop 24-7? Yeah right. Fact is obama was trying hard to make Libya look like a success while the Al Quada is over running the country and taking back Afghanistan... sick sick sick and no class.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  24. jimcolyer

    Obama is obnoxious!

    October 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
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    October 18, 2012 at 12:01 am |