PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Sen. Jack Reed will be in Kentucky to attend Thursday's vice presidential debate and will be among Democratic surrogates available to offer a response to the performance.
Vice President Joe Biden is set to face off against GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin during a nationally televised debate from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. The 90-minute exchange will be moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News.
In a press release from President Obama's reelection campaign, Reed is listed as one of 11 officials available for comment immediately following the debate.
"The Obama campaign contacted me and asked if I could attend and I'm pleased to do so," Reed said in a phone interview.
Reed said he anticipates Biden to be "forceful" during the debate, unlike his more easy-going performance in 2008 against former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.
"I don’t think he's going to be overbearing but I think he's going to make a strong case based on the facts," Reed said. "This election is critical to families, particularly middle income families across the country.”
Eyewitness News Political Analyst Joe Fleming said Reed was most likely picked to address questions from the media over how the two candidates handled foreign policy issues.
"He has now become basically the Democratic spokesman in the Senate for foreign affairs," Fleming said. "There is no question Jack Reed has really elevated his status in the U.S. Senate and in the Democratic party."
Reed - a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee - said he expects international issues will dominate his role in Kentucky.
Foreign policy could be a focal point during the debate as the Obama administration is facing more questions about security for U.S. diplomats leading up to attack on the consulate in Libya.
Ambassador Chris Stevens died in an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11 along with three members of his security detail.
Reed said he doesn't think the Senate should hold hearings on Libya yet and wants to see the results of a report by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tapped Pickering to investigate the attacks.
"I think what you really want to do is a very careful, thorough review which could call upon classified materials as well as unclassified materials," Reed said. "That’s awful hard to do in a public hearing. The Pickering report might be the basis of another review by the Senate."
Reed left for Kentucky from Washington Thursday morning and will arrive at the debate site later in the afternoon. He said he will be watching the event outside the debate hall so he is accessibly to media immediately after the exchange.