Obama Calls on Kerry for Debate Preparation

President Obama has selected Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to play Republican nominee Mitt Romney in debate rehearsals sources familiar with the arrangement say.

Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, has extensive presidential debate preparation experience, and as a Bay State senator for over 27 years is as familiar with Romney as anyone in Washington. The three debates in the fall will be some of the most important tests of the president's reelection bid.

Despite their impressive resumes, Kerry and Romney share some of the same criticisms from political pundits. Some chided Kerry as a man whose wealth and privileged upbringing rendered him out of touch with the concerns of average Americans. Romney, the son of auto executive and former Michigan Governor George Romney, has been attacked as aloof as well.

Romney has not yet selected a sparring partner for his debate prep. However, one man who stood in for Obama during Sen. John McCain's, R-Ariz., prep sessions in 2008, now-Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is on the former Massachusetts governor's short list for vice president.