September 26th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Who played Obama in McCain's debate prep?

Rob Portman played the part of Obama in McCain's debate prep.
Rob Portman played the part of Obama in McCain's debate prep.

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) - After days and days of denials that they had anyone playing Obama in debate prep sessions, two McCain campaign aides admitted to CNN they were using a stand-in for the Democratic nominee: former GOP congressman and OMB director Rob Portman.

Portman has been playing Obama in mock debates, including a two-hour session Thursday night in McCain's Virginia apartment, and one at an Oxford high school hours before tonight's debate.

Ironically, in 2000, Portman played Joe Lieberman in mock debates for then VP candidate Dick Cheney.

Now Lieberman is a close friend and supporter of McCain's, and a regular on the road with him.

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. 55 y/o white woman

    Should have used a black man so McCain could have practiced looking at one. He wouldn't give Obama the repect he would have given any white contender. No eye contact is a sign of contempt and disrepect. Why doesn't McCain act like Obama is his equal?He's either scared or preduduce-ot both.

    September 27, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  2. Scooby

    "After days and days of DENIALS that they had anyone playing Obama in debate prep sessions"

    CNN let's call a spade a spade:

    After days and days of LYING that that they had anyone playing Obama.

    Why does this guy have any support in the United States? He lies even when he doesn't have to

    September 27, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  3. FrankSmith

    Yes, Senator McCain- thank you for making me proud of the 20's. But you offered nothing about the 21st century and beyond! Here, I learned alot from Obama, not you. Thank you for confirming my decision about voting for Obama as the next President that will move this nation forward!

    September 27, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  4. FL GOP

    Keep up the good work, Rob!

    September 27, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  5. Nija

    Is that all you have. Why don't you play the real deal.

    September 27, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. BK

    Obama lied about Kissinger. Where is that on this list?

    September 27, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  7. curtis in WI

    Why is the McCain campaign so against telling the truth? Why deny they had a Obama stand-in for debate prep. That is standard practice and what anyone who is trying to seriously prepare does. You need a live body to throw curve balls at you so you can practice not getting flustered or angry and to get you thinking about how you might counter such remarks.

    I guess we have found one more thing McCain has in common with Bush – In all things – lie. Even if the truth won't hurt anyone. Lie.

    September 27, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  8. John Smith

    Yes, Senator McCain- thank you for making me proud of the 20's. But you offered nothing about the 21st century and beyond! Here, I learned alot from Obama, not you. Thank you for confirming my decision about voting for Obama as the next President that will move this nation forward!

    September 27, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  9. Mike, CA

    So what? They lied again. Nothing new. I'm trying to remain fair and intelligent but this entire election is silly right? Right? Mr. Obama is obviously better educated, has better ideas, and is entirely more honest with the public (for a politician, its all relative) than is Mr. McCain's campaign

    September 27, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  10. Mia and Mike

    Wow, they really go through a stage drama like that? Call me naive, but I had no idea this thing call Presidency was an act. Come on people, we need REAL leadership!! People asre sick of the puppet strings being pulled. This world is real, we have real problems and I don't appreciate knowing we witnessed a rehearsed act. I'm not interested in being entertained. I'm interested in learning and believing that you can lead our country.

    September 27, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  11. aliou FL John Mckeating five

    They are all playing a bad joke on Americans.

    September 27, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  12. aliou FL John Mckeating five

    OBAMA 08

    September 27, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  13. Gilbert

    All losers!!!Go OBAMA/BIDEN

    September 27, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  14. Meka

    Portman should have been giving Palin "Mock Interviews"

    September 27, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  15. deb

    Byron Dorgan, Senator from ND, finally some explanation and reasonable direction for this economic mess.
    If we could get Ron Paul and Byron in a room, we could have a solution to this debacle.

    LISTEN UP CONGRESS!! IF YOU HAVE EARS LISTEN !!!

    September 27, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  16. John Smith

    It bears repeating:
    Yes, Senator- thank you for making me proud of the 20's. But you offered nothing about the 21st century and beyond! Here, I learned alot from Obama, not you. Thank you for confirming my decision about voting for Obama as the next President that will move this nation forward!

    Obama won this debate, in every way possible; just look up the post-debate polls!

    September 27, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  17. Independentandlovingit

    I thought Obama won hands down.
    What I’ve found most interesting over the whole course of the Elction season Primaries included, is how truly lazy the American public is when it comes to our government. 20 out of the last 28 Years we’ve had a Republican President and 14 out of the last 16 Years, the Republicans have controlled the Congress, even now people think the Democrats control the Senate, but it’s 49 – 49 with 2 Independents that lean toward the DEMS, but no where close enough to overturn a Presidential Veto! Plus People talk about Experience as an Issue, and I have to say President Lincoln had less than Obama and Our Founding Fathers had less than Obama and between them we Formed a Nation and survived a Civil War, It was their Vision and Inspirational Leadership that did it, as Most Good Presidents do!

    September 27, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  18. Chikk On Lit

    LOL !!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    September 27, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  19. Nathan from Texas

    He was doing this Thursday night, you say? Guess they didn't need his help with the economy, after all.

    September 27, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  20. Chris from NY

    Birds of the same feather flock together. Two old guys with no vision for the future. Play mate or check mate?

    September 27, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  21. Amy

    Hmm, maybe they should have had him play Biden for Palin since she's so similar to Cheney it's scary...

    September 27, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  22. Gary

    Uh......who cares?

    September 27, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  23. Barney

    After days and days of denials that they had anyone playing Obama in debate prep sessions, two McCain campaign aides admitted to CNN they were using a stand-in for the Democratic nominee: former GOP congressman and OMB director Rob Portman.
    ---------------

    More blatant lies from the man that lies and has to hide his military records.

    NO NO NO McWarmonger

    We need to tak our country back for US. Obama/Biden '08

    September 27, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  24. Tiaunia

    Um it really doesn't matter. ..it will not help McCain...he is clearly not the leader we need

    September 27, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  25. Barney

    I trust Obama to think before he says anything

    McCain will be the same old same old -- READY – FIRE – AIM

    I'm sold on Obama. I do NOT trust McWarmonger with my money or my life.

    September 27, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
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