NBC – WASHINGTON — Four years ago, Joe Biden rehearsed for debates at a lectern in the basement of his Delaware home. Now, as president, he can pick a room at the White House, his retreat at Camp David, Maryland, or almost anywhere else in the country.

But as much as the atmospherics have changed around Biden — whether it’s the room he’s in, the ups and downs of the economy or the outbreak of wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East — his preparations for rematch debates with former President Donald Trump promise to be remarkably consistent with his 2020 sessions.

Trump is reluctant to practice for debates — much less engage in the full mock dry runs familiar to most presidential candidates — according to three people close to him.

“What’s that?” a Trump aide replied with dry humor when asked about Trump’s plans to prepare.

And yet on June 27 — the first time two men who have held the Oval Office meet in a televised presidential debate — they will have four years’ worth of fresh material to battle over. Trump’s primary message is that he is strong and Biden is weak. Biden’s is that he cares about Americans while Trump cares only about himself.

Trump advisers say he doesn’t need formal rehearsals because he spends so much time interacting with voters and the media — at rallies like the one he held in the Bronx, New York, last week, at pop-ins at local eateries, in one-on-one interviews and in near-daily news conferences at the Manhattan courthouse where he’s on trial.

Biden’s “puppet-masters are in full panic trying to figure out how to prop up their feeble candidate,” Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement. “In contrast, President Trump is out delivering 90-minute speeches to tens of thousands of supporters and taking on tough interview after tough interview, talking about how we’re going to bring back the great Trump economy and once again secure our borders.”

Both candidates run the risk of making the debate about themselves — or even too much about their records — when persuadable voters will be listening to hear about their plans for the future. That’s a particularly acute peril for Trump, who rarely passes up a chance to falsely assert that he won the last election.

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