WASHINGTON (AP) — The role of Mitt Romney in President Barack Obama's practice debates will be played by another Massachusetts politician: John Kerry.

A Democratic official said Monday that Obama's campaign has tapped Sen. Kerry, who was the 2004 presidential nominee in 2004, to stand in for Romney. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the choice had not been formally announced.

Role playing in debate preparations is a key that helps candidates anticipate likely rebuttals and charges.

Obama used attorney Greg Craig to play Republican rival John McCain in 2008. Republicans since 1996 have turned to Rob Portman — now a senator and a rumored vice presidential pick — to play the Democratic nominees.

Romney's campaign would not comment who would play Obama during Romney's debate preparations.

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