Details of Ryan's Debate Cram Session

GOP vice presidential candidate has crammed for meeting with Joe Biden.

October 10, 2012, 9:46 PM

Oct. 11, 2011 -- ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Paul Ryan wrapped up last minute debate prep at a spectacular old Florida hotel replete with Sunshine State pastels and Mediterranean revival architecture, The Vinoy. It would be his last formal session in seclusion before the only vice presidential debate where he faces off against a man nearly 28 years his senior.

An aide, who asked for anonymity, admitted the obvious, especially after his running mate's show stopping performance last week: "He's nervous."

"He's done things on the national stage," the aide said, trying to play the expectations game. "He's given a response to the president, debates in the Budget Committee and on the House floor and his congressional races, but nothing compared to the attention and the pressure that goes with a live nationally televised debate like this."

Ryan has taken part in eight campaign debates as a congressman, but none of those were on a national stage. And only one was in a race against a strong opponent. Read more about Ryan's debate history.

Tune in to on Thursday for livestreaming coverage of the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate moderated by ABC's Martha Raddatz in Danville, Ky. Coverage kicks off with ABC News' live preview show at noon, and full debate coverage begins at 8 p.m.

The aide said his biggest worry was an "Irish uncle moment where the vice president's charm overwhelms his lack of facts or logic."

Before you tune in, here's your one-stop-shopping guide to everything you need to know about Paul Ryan's debate prep.

What Did Prep Look Like?

Ryan started official preparations for the debate back in early September by watching the 2008 debate between Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin, according to an aide. Before this, according to two aides, the only prep he had been doing were policy briefings on a "range of issues," including "domestic, economic, foreign policy and national security." Before this, he was focused on his convention speech and campaigning.

Preps continued outside Bend, Oregon on Sunday, Sept. 9, with close advisers. They took a break for the Green Bay Packers game.

Back in Washington on Sept. 13, Ryan continued debate preps with his official Biden stand-in, former Solicitor General Theodore Olson. They continued practice through multiple sessions in Washington and at a Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis.

But the bulk of Ryan's preparations occurred at an intensive "debate camp" that lasted from Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 through Saturday afternoon Oct. 6, 2012 at the Wintergreen resort in Virginia.

The only break from "debate camp" was a rally with Mitt Romney in Fishersville, Va., on Thursday evening. A Ryan aide told ABC News they did two full-length mock debates. Martha Raddatz was played by former Massachusetts lieutenant governor and Romney foreign policy advisor Kerry Healey (Romney did his own debate prep at Healey's home in Vermont).

Ryan also got in some mountain biking while at a resort in Wintergreen, Va., he told reporters in Florida.

A final set of run-throughs took place at the Vinoy in Florida this week.

Who is Ted Olson? Former Solicitor General, Gay Marriage Supporter Played Biden

The Republican attorney who played Joe Biden in Ryan's debate preparations famously argued in federal court for same-sex marriage and against Proposition 8. Ryan is against same sex marriage.

At an LGBT dinner in Washington D.C. in March, the renowned attorney called the battle against Proposition 8 "the highlight of my life," according to the Washington Post.

When it was announced Olson would stand in for Biden during the debate preps, Ryan spokesperson Brendan Buck told ABC News that Olson and Ryan did not know each other well.

Olson also served as Solicitor General in the George W. Bush administration, and as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel under President Ronald Reagan.

He also served as private counsel to both Bush and Reagan. He helped to cement Bush's victory in the 2000 presidential election during the recount. He is now an attorney at the Gibson Dunn & Crutcher's law firm in Washington D.C.

Who Else Was In Debate Prep?

Some of the advisers who helped Ryan prepare included Russ Schriefer, Romney Senior Advisor; Dan Senor, Romney foreign policy advisor who has been traveling with Ryan for most of the time since he has been selected; Andy Speth, Ryan's chief of staff in his Wisconsin Congressional office, one of Ryan's closest friends from high school as well as his chief of staff and oldest advisor.

Also involved were Joyce Meyer, chief of staff in the Washington DC congressional office,; Conor Sweeney, communications director in Ryan's Washington D.C. congressional office; traveling press secretary Michael Steel; policy adviser, David Stewart and Elise Stefanik, Romney policy advisor and former policy director for the RNC platform.

What Has Ryan Said About the Debate?

Sure, it's a "nervous situation," he said Wednesday at an ice cream stop in St. Petersburg on his way to Danville, Ky. And yes, his debate prep at the Vinoy "went well."

"Joe Biden has been on this stage many times before," Ryan said while ordered two scoops of Moose Tracks ice cream. Biden is "one of the most experienced debaters we have in modern politics, but the Achilles Heel he has is President Obama's record and I'm really looking forward to giving the American people a very clear choice," he added.

Refusing to take the punditry bait about how much impact his debate will have on the race, he did quip to the media: "I'm sure you will debate that one endlessly."

However, as recently as Sunday, when asked by a reporter whether he was "excited" about the debate, he said he was "excited about picking pumpkins." That's what he was doing with his family, along with feeding goats.

But in a follow-up, he was asked to contrast the goat feeding with debate prep. "It feels like the same," said Ryan