Priebus plays expectations game for VP debate

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(CNN) — The Republican National Committee chairman continued to downplay debate expectations for the GOP ticket Sunday, this time setting the stage for the upcoming showdown between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

“I think people realize that Joe Biden is a gifted orator. He’s very good at rhetoric. And I think he’s very relatable,” Priebus said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

While Biden is known to make gaffes on the campaign trail, the vice president — who was a U.S. senator for 36 years – certainly does not lack experience on the debate stage, Priebus said.

“He knows his stuff,” the chairman added.

Ryan, however, will do a “great job,” Priebus said, pointing to the House budget committee chairman’s passion for numbers and commitment to “understanding the problems of this economy.” In fact, a recent CNN/ORC International Poll found that 55% of likely voters thought Ryan will fare better in the debate, while 39% said Biden will win.

“I think they’re two different people, and I think it’s going to be a great night,” Priebus told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, who will moderate the second presidential debate on October 16.

Ryan and Biden face off Thursday at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

And while the unemployment rate ticked below 8% for the first time since President Barack Obama took office, Priebus maintained Sunday the economy was still getting “clobbered.”

“The fact of the matter is the president and Joe Biden are getting clobbered on the policies that they put in place,” Priebus said. “They promised we’d be a heck of a lot better off than we are today. We’re nowhere close.”

Friday’s jobs report showed unemployment unexpectedly fell to 7.8% in September, down from 8.1%, while a separate survey showed 114,000 jobs were added to the economy that same month.

The last time the unemployment rate was that low was in January 2009, the month Obama was inaugurated.

But Republicans argued the new number was nothing to celebrate, with some saying it indicated more Americans were leaving the job force – while others simply said it’s too little, too late.

“If you are getting blown out in a football game but are scoring field goals once a quarter, you can’t point to the three points every quarter and say at least we’re scoring some points,” Priebus said. “We’re still getting clobbered.”

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