RNC chairman lowers expectations ahead of vice presidential debate

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sought to lower expectations ahead of Thursday’s vice presidential debate, saying Sunday he expects Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) to do well, but noting repeatedly that Vice President Biden is a talented debater.


Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. (Toni Sandys/Washington Post)

“Paul is a smart guy. He has committed his life to understanding the problems of our economy,” Priebus said on CNN’s “State of The Union.” “I think Paul is going to do a great job, but I think it’s important to understand” Biden is “a gifted orator” and “very good at rhetoric.”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) said on the same program that Ryan was dishonest in his speech at the Republican National Convention.

“I hope Mr. Priebus does advise Mr. Ryan to just tell the truth, unlike what we heard at Republican National Convention,” Nutter said.

Nutter added that Biden should “speak from his heart” Thursday night. “He will give it to you straight,” he said.

Ryan and Biden will square off in Danville, Ky.

When asked about Friday's jobs report, which showed the nation’s unemployment rate has fallen below 8 percent, Priebus argued voters shouldn’t be satisfied with the pace of the country’s economic recovery.

“If you are getting blown out in a football game, but getting field goals once a quarter,” you should not be celebrating, Preibus said. 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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