Donald Trump and Joe Biden are gearing up for their debate next week. Here's how they'll prep.

WASHINGTON – With one week to go, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are in full-on debate mode.

The presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees are starting the final stages of preparation for their first in-person showdown since 2020. Biden will take campaign briefings at Camp David this weekend, and Trump will also meet with policy advisers, all activities leading up to Thursday's encounter.

donald trump and joe biden are gearing up for their debate next week. here's how they'll prep.

The front-runners in the presidential race, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, would be well into their 80s before one or the other left office in January 2029.

The former president will also engage Saturday in his favorite form of debate prep: a campaign rally, this one in the politically pivotal state of Pennsylvania.

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The Trump and Biden campaigns expect millions to tune in for this first of two scheduled presidential debates. CNN will host the opening round Thursday in Atlanta. ABC is organizing a second debate for Sept. 10, with details to come.

In a race that's now a dead heat, both candidates are gearing up to play both offense and defense, on topics ranging from Biden's age to Trump's criminal conviction in his New York hush money case.

Joe Biden heads to Camp David

As Biden gets ready for the showdown in Atlanta, he's taking a more tradition approach: debate camp.

The president is scheduled to depart Thursday for the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland as he and his advisers try to figure out how to counter his political rival next week.

One likely issue to surface at the debate (and during debate preparations): the ages of the candidates.

Voters have concerns about both Biden and Trump's ages as the November election approaches. After all, in 2025 either of them would be the oldest president to take office.

Trump, 78, has clearly signaled he plans to make Biden's age an issue in both the debate on Thursday and the months of campaigning to follow. Though Trump has said Biden, 81, isn't too old to serve as president, during a rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump said the Democrats "have a candidate who has no clue."

Biden, on the other hand, is expected to also challenge Trump's cognitive abilities, from his slurring of words to threatening political opponents with prosecution.

Biden spokesperson James Singer said in a statement that Trump "has only gotten worse," and accused the former president of being a "convicted criminal who's only out for himself."

Donald Trump rallies supporters

This time around, Trump isn't planning to hold mock debates, a common tool politicians use to prepare for the onstage competitions. Instead, it appears he's relying on rallies and talks with a variety of allies.

In recent weeks, he's spoken with a network of his defenders about how he should handle the debate with Biden. The debate advisers have included some of Trump's top vice-presidential running mate possibilities, such as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and J.D. Vance of Ohio and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

In addition to attacking Biden on the debate stage, Trump will also likely address his criminal conviction in New York, where a jury last month found him guilty of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

He's also expected to talk about abortion. Trump has publicly said he believes states should set their own restrictions as Republicans struggle to unify behind one stance – and Democrats accuse the former president of supporting a national ban.

Political observers will be watching to see if Trump addresses these in front of crowds in Philadelphia over the weekend as he prepares to make his GOP pitch to voters across the country next week. Abortion could also be a topic in another Trump event on Saturday: A keynote address to the Faith & Freedom Coalition, a group of religious conservatives, some of whom want a federal ban.

In previous speeches, Trump has said that proposals for a federal abortion ban could hurt Republican candidates – including himself – in the fall election.

And as for his four sets of criminal charges, Trump said Thursday on Truth Social: "All Biden can do is talk about his WEAPONIZED Witch Hunt Trials against me." The former president has long claimed without evidence that his indictments across multiple cases are targeting his reelection bid.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump and Joe Biden are gearing up for their debate next week. Here's how they'll prep.

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