2,500 Words on Rob Portman

It seems plenty of people used the extended holiday week to crank out some serious verbiage. Robert Costa at The National Review takes a long look at today’s odds-0on favorite to get the Vice President call from Mitt Romney, Ohio Senator Rob Portman.  It’s a long worthwhile read, but I’ll bullet point the highlights:

  • As a student Portman perfected his Spanish on a 6-month kayak trip down the Rio Grande, which he still speaks fluently.
  • Portman served in two Cabinet-level posts for Bush 43, including budget director from 2006 to 2007. His budget tenure has dogged him throughout the veep season, and many Washington observers see it as his biggest liability.
  • Portman took care to defend his record at the Office of Management and Budget, talking up his push for a balanced budget and his efforts to make data about congressional earmarks available online.
  • Any fiscal hawk who examines his record, he argued, shouldn’t have a problem with it. “I served at a time when we had a strong economy, when we had deficits that we would die for today. I was able to propose a balanced budget, not over ten years, but over five years….I’m proud of that record.”
  • Portman also defended the Romney campaign’s senior team, which has come under fire in recent days for how it handled Romney’s follow-up to the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare.
  • On whether Obamacare’s “penalty” is a tax, he echoed Romney’s comments to CBS News last week: “It’s not up to me. It’s up to the Supreme Court, and it’s a tax.”
  • He spoke about his late father, Bill Portman, who founded Portman Equipment Company a half-century ago after graduating from Dartmouth. “My family comes out of that background… My father left his job as a salesman to start his own business.”
  • About those Bain attacks? Portman was incredulous: “I frankly wonder why the Obama campaign wants to talk so much about [Romney’s] private-sector experience.”
  • Portman is a favorite of many within Romney’s inner circle, because of his political diligence, his fundraising prowess, and his policy acumen. “He knows how to work the details, and he probably understands the budget better than anyone running for president or vice president.”
  • Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Romney aide, told me after Romney won Ohio by a narrow margin that Portman put the campaign over the top: Thanks to Portman’s push, Romney came to Ohio “a week before the election, down eleven points, and quickly caught up.” And a Politico analysis of the exit polls shows that a quarter of Ohio Republicans made their decision during the final days of the campaign, when Portman and Romney were travel companions.
  • He has been a fundraising machine, raising millions for Romney from southwestern Ohio. Last month, he hosted a series of events with big-dollar donors, including one reception that netted more than $3 million for Romney and other Republicans.
  • Portman “passes the crucial test of preparedness.” If the Ohioan is selected, there will be “widespread consensus among Republicans, the media, and Democrats that he’s qualified from Day One to be commander-in-chief.”

One Trackback

  1. […] it looks like it is not meant to be.  Plenty of trees met their doom as serious reporters wrote small novellas on Rob Portman since he seemed to check all the boxes for a Vice President candidate: does no harm […]

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