Speed Reads

ready or not

Mike Pence spent a month preparing for Tuesday's vice presidential debate

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will enter the vice presidential debate with weeks of practice under his belt, a notable departure from running mate Donald Trump's own debate preparations — or lack thereof. But ahead of Tuesday evening's vice presidential debate, Trump's number two is likely bracing to be on the defensive to protect his candidate: "Ultimately, he's going to have to explain Trump to people, and his job is probably going to be to mop up whatever mistakes Trump makes and explain Trump and be the guy who says, 'Trump's a good guy and he's not crazy," Republican strategist John Feehery told The New York Times.

Since last Tuesday, Pence has been locked away in the Sheraton Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, for intense debate preparation, including sparring sessions against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is standing in as Hillary Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. But Pence has had his eyes on the big night for a lot longer than just a week:

[Pence] and his team began preparing for the debate shortly before Labor Day, and each week have devoted an increasing amount of time to the effort. (Fridays, which Mr. Pence typically spends off the trail and in the Indiana governor's mansion, have become largely focused on debate preparation.)

He has been studying briefing books, and dossiers on his laptop. The Republican National Committee has also uploaded copious videos of Mr. Kaine — everything from interviews to past debates — to an online file-sharing service for Mr. Pence to view. [The New York Times]

When it comes down to it, though, Pence has bigger fish to fry than Clinton's running mate tomorrow night. "If I talk too much about Tim Kaine during my debate, I'm wasting my time," he said.