(CNN) - Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Thursday pushed back – ever so slightly - at the suggestion he might join Mitt Romney's presidential ticket, offering nothing of the definitive "no" which some other possible vice presidential candidates have voiced.
Asked on CNN's "John King, USA" if he liked the sound of a Mitt Romney-Rob Portman ticket, Portman demurred.
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"I think Rubio's got a better ring, actually," Portman suggested. "Maybe Ryan."
Portman sits alongside Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan on lists of potential running mates tossed around by political insiders. One of the factors in Portman's favor is his battleground state residency, but on Thursday he predicted Ohio would end up in Romney's column for other reasons.
"He's going to win because the top issue in Ohio is jobs and the economy," Portman told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
He then referenced the region President Barack Obama and Romney each visited in the last two days: "It's true in Lorain County, where - by the way - there is 8.7% unemployment and people are looking around for some leadership."
According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday, Portman is far from a favorite of Republicans for the vice presidential slot. The poll asked Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP to choose from eight names who could be among the two dozen or so potential running mates that the Romney campaign may be considering as the vice presidential nominee.
Portman came in last, with less than one half of one percent of respondents naming him as their pick. He was behind the poll's leader, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as other names frequently mentioned as potential vice presidential picks: former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Rubio, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Portman professed in Thursday's interview to not be surprised by his showing, and called Rice "another great pick" while adding "I've actually talked to her about it, she's not interested."
But Portman, who endorsed Romney in January, thinks the number two spot will be of little consequence in the November voting booth.
"Frankly, people vote for the person at the top of the ticket," he said.